Hey all. I don’t know how your day is going today, but I invite you to get lost for a minute. Not in a bad way. But just to unplug and watch one of these three beautiful songs. Or all three. Good day or bad, they’re just beautiful. I hope you all are having a beautiful day.
Tonight I saw a wonderful ballet called Giselle. It played at the Grand Théâtre de Provence as part of the Marseille 2013 Culture Capital. I have to say, I love all that “high society” entertainment. Ballets, operas, plays, basically anything beautiful that also allows me to look super classy! I didn’t know if I would like ballet to be honest. Before this I’d only ever seen the Nutcracker. But it’s just beautiful. Music, movement, and a bit of story thrown in there too. Plus, if you don’t like it, you can always space out! I did! And man was that constructive. Writer’s block, bye-bye!
So apparently actors in France will come on the stage, do their bow, leave AND THEN COME BACK ON over and over again until you stop clapping. Why? Not sure, but supposedly the more times they come back out the better you like the show(?). Anyway, makes for a very tired set of hands when you have a good play (“The Glass Menagerie” in this case) and some good actors.
So yesterday I went to a ball.
Okay, it wasn’t quite a “ball” in the traditional sense. Actually, it was like a club. Except it was spread out over the campus of a school. I think there were six rooms with different music? Live Rock, “Disco,” traditional “club” music, salsa and honestly that’s as far as I got. BECAUSE, the live rock was TOO COOL. I’m not sure I can express how much fun it was to listen to French people playing “Sweet Child of Mine.”
Which leads me to my next tidbit: The weirdest stuff that happened to me last night (least to greatest, of course).
1) Old people. Yeah. So there were a lot of like, adults there. Like A LOT. I saw a gray-haired man in the Club room. Which was just kind of like, “Um…okay.” It’s France. Go figure.
2) Peeing in public. Yeah, so before y’all freak out let me just say that this is what happened. They had like this bathroom hut with tarps in the back of it that were pretty open. But you’d just walk to the back, walk up to this wall of falling water and, well you get the idea. So strange.
3) The nipple guy. So we were dancing in the Disco room and this guy just comes through and on his way past, twists my nipple and tells me I’m cute. I will say it took me a good five minutes to replay what he said to figure out that he said “mignon,” so much confusion. One minute I’m being polite, the next there’s a man touching my chest. I still have no idea how he was that accurate.
4) The french girls I was dancing with started making out with each other. I was just kind of like…well this is awkward. Now what am I supposed to do? I should also mention at this point in the night our group had gotten separated. So I was just like…um…and left to go find some friends to dance with haha.
5) And my favorite one of the night: French people singing “Stand By Me.” Wins the competition for both weirdest and best. So much great.
And that was my night. Spent dancing away with some really cool people. It was a lot of fun. I even made a friend just waiting in line to get in. Oh. And I got to dress up.
Today in my “Oral Expression” class for French, we did a really interesting improvisation exercise. Basically, you were given three places to go on the stage and your fellow actor was given three without either of you knowing who was going where. You just started and boom.
But here’s the catch: You had to make it real. You couldn’t just walk across the stage or do a ping-pong blip-blip-blip and done. No. You had to make it REAL. And THAT was sweet because you end up creating a character, a story and a life for it. I had tons of fun with that little challenge. And didn’t do too badly, if I do say so myself.
But here’s where it gets deep and cool. Our professor, at the end of class, said that the exercise wasn’t just about learning how to act. He said, the things in the exercise that are true remain true for life. He said, here. You have three goals you want to accomplish. If you hop up and down, yell and scream, scramble and tussle, you’re not going to cross that stage convincingly. It’s just not going to happen. You have to be ready to move, yes, but you also have to let the moment come. Because it will. You just have to be ready for it. And stop wasting all this energy doing…nothing really.
What you need will come. You have to be ready for the opportunity to come so you can seize it and cross the stage. But no matter how you struggle, you’ll never be able to cross that stage convincingly until the right moment comes. And then it will be natural, beautiful and quite possibly steal the show.
I want to knit a blanket (one of the girls on the program said she would teach me -I should mention that there are only four guys in our program, so “one of the girls” denotes one of quite a few people haha) BUT, I don’t know how much yarn to buy, where I should get it, or how much it’s going to cost.
Any of you people know what I should do? And is it worth it, or should I just go buy a blanket for the winter and stick to carving?
Hope everyone is having a lovely day!
Today we went esploring. That’s right. Esploring. The best kind of exploration. Basically, I decided that I didn’t know enough about this city that I live in and wanted to just, well, wander. However, I felt pretty anti-social doing all that alone, so I invited my group, got a response and off I goed! We went mostly north, taking whatever streets looked strange, new or interesting. Or some combination of the three. This is the first street we came across:
We most certainly did not see the whole city. An hour later and I have a vague idea of what the north-most side looks like. Haha which is not to say that I know the ins and outs at all. We skipped more routes than we took. But it was good to just wander. It’s really cool, this city. I think I’ve finally begun to love it. The cobblestone streets, the close buildings that are just a little less than straight, the sidewalks you can hardly use. All of it. Even the freedom to just smoke at a cafe without worrying about offending someone. It’s interesting that freedom. I don’t even smoke, but the fact that you can just sit at a cafe and enjoy it without worrying about other people – what they think, if they care – that’s really something.
We were also asked for directions twice, which I took as a major, major accomplishment. If you think I look French enough to know anything about the particulars of this city, that’s really a big ego booster for me right there. And I actually knew where the thing was too! Broom Shackalaka. Yes you did read that right. The first word is, in fact, “broom.”
Second awesome thing: first class. The class offered through our program started today. It’s a theatre class. I’M. SO. EXCITED!! I haven’t done theatre since high school and I’m just getting to the point where I miss it. So this is really perfect. Today we talked about body language, intonation and a lot of things I have seen but never noticed or had explained. Here’s one you should all know. It’s critically important.
“Le Premier Pouvoir,” the first power. It is essentially the power that takes a person leading a group (or being watched by a group) and makes them into someone who can manipulate the physical reactions of their audience. Think about it. What do you do when you watch a football game? Lean to the right, lean forward, try to react to things like you want them to or how they are. In fact, someone discovered that people watching tennis experience neural signals to the muscles in their arm despite the fact that they aren’t playing the game. A professor who struts too and fro, speaks quickly and loudly will increase the heartbeat of everyone in the class. It’s massively powerful because it’s subconscious.
In other news, we finished class with improv. And boy was that fun. Our professor just set two chairs on the stage, asked for two volunteers and said, “go.” Terrifying and awesome. All at once. I may have somewhat stolen the show. And I don’t want to sound egotistical about it, but. Well. I just happened to come up with a truly ridiculous and variable character. Who ate squirrels. And was mauled by both a bear and a cat. At different times, of course.
It was a very fun day. And I got to talk to both of my best friends. One only briefly, but hopefully we’re going to remedy that situation very soon.
I miss them. That’s the one thing. I think it’s always going to be the one thing. I can live without America (shocking, I know. But as much as I love my country, there is more to the world than just it). I can live without speaking English all the time to people I know are going to understand what I’m saying 100%. I can live without familiar foods, familiar cars, familiar buildings. But I really don’t know how long I could go without someone to share all this wonder with.
And that, I think, is really the hardest part about study abroad.
So far. 😉