Hey there, friends. Haven't died quite yet. Usual excuse of being busy/tired/lazy/forgetful. Just finished up a very demanding semester two weeks ago and have been enjoying the relative calmness that follows final projects, exams, and my year-end 60-page paper.
Calmness after the storm
So, what have I been up to? Well, there was a two-week break not long after my last post. Spent that working a bit on my mémoire, having a visit from Brittany, hanging out with friends, enjoying the decent weather (I think). To be honest, the last few months have melted together to form a general uni-computer-library-wine-sleep continuum, but I do remember April and May being particularly fun. My birthday was in there—you know, the one where I didn't age yet celebrated on three separate occasions, the elections (Go Hollande!!), some good dinners with friends, a Ben Howard concert, pub quizzes, weekly coffee dates, exams, some sleep, wine and chats on the canal, work, shopping, and many moments that have sadly blurred together. People leaving, people coming, and me staying cooped up in my apartment when not out doing aforementioned activities.
Nearly the entire month of June was spent in my apartment or one of two libraries. To finish this mother of a paper. My paper wasn't even that good, but damn if it wasn't the hardest thing I've had to do, oh, ever. I don't think I'm particularly cut out for academia. I mean, I do like learning. Reading, expanding my knowledge, enlightenment—all that jazz, sure. But when it comes to applying it and demonstrating that I've learned something by writing a paper..very much not my forte. There was one weekend not so long ago that I stayed up for three days in a row, more or less. I got two or three hours of sleep each night, and had to work 8 hour shifts the following days. It was really not fun or glamorous, it just sucked. Because I couldn't put off writing it any longer. I actually had to finish it. I finally turned in my beautifully plastic-bound paper two weeks ago. It wasn't a particularly proud piece of work, but I was glad to have something to turn in. I'm in a professional Master's program. So instead of writing a 100-page research paper, I have to do a translation of around 20 pages and then another 20-25 pages of commentary (in French), and then a bunch of bibliography annexes and a few translated pages of the website I chose. It's a doable project, but I spent far too long on my translation and not enough time on the commentary. Plus, I didn't have my French checked over to make sure it was 100% correct. My French is pretty good, but I will never have the fluidity of a native French-speaker. They are just so..flowery. So eloquent without trying. I get there—part way— but my native straight-to-the-point English sometimes gets in the way.
So anyway to finish up, I basically went into the jury hoping they'd let me improve it for the second jury session in September. I was happy to take their criticisms and suggestions, but I wanted more time. And since I wasn't that stressed about it, it really wasn't that bad. I got what I wanted—well, my whole program of five did—a later date in early September. They said my translation was pretty solid, and congratulated me on that, but said I should re-do parts of my commentary and add in some more translation theory. I walked away happy to have a few months to do what I know could be a better job. Because more than anything, I want to have a paper I'm proud of. Employers aren't afraid to ask to see something like this, and considering that I somehow half-assed my way through about 80% of my college classes, turning in papers that were acceptable but not great, I'd like to prove to my procrastinator self that I can do this. And also, my staying in France next year depends on me being in the second year of this program (which is not automatic), which depends on me getting a certain grade on this paper. So. There we are. I'm on break, kind of.
It's Monday and I have decided that my self-imposed vacation from schoolwork is over. I really must begin reading new material and re-doing my paper. I needed some time away from what I had before, anyway. Translation is tricky—you can always come back to it and find something you want to change. But it's good to sometimes take a little time away from it to get a better perspective. I went to the library today and copied some stuff to read. I also need to get stuff together before August begins because all the Parisians flee the city—including the librarians that man the libraries. I know it's holiday season but I do have trouble seeing the fairness of leaving us poor summer dissertation/mémoire/thesis writers with no place to study or look stuff up. Ruuude.
Some pictures, did you say? Oh, I've got plenty of those. So many you might not even want to scroll through all of them. But in case you do...
Paris Marathon in April
Pizza Hut. I indulge only when Americans like Brittany visit so we can share the judgement.
Back when the weather was nice...
Mémoire writing à la française
Sacré Coeur, hipster style
High school friend Katie comes to visit!
English friends Will & Duncan at pub watching England vs. Italy in Euro Cup (I was actually into the cup this year but stopped caring after the Dutch and English were eliminated)
Chipotle comes to Paris: defining moment in my life
Ben Howard. Really excellent guitar player.
These pictures are three hours apart. Welcome to a lovely summer in Paris.
So, there's more here if you're interested. I'm lazy and I'm sure you're bored. But I've been keeping busy, don't worry. Oh, final sad note: I will not be making an appearance home this summer. Suuuuuuuuper bummed out, really, really. But I can't afford it and it's doubly sad this year as my Grandma Vida is turning 100 (Mom's side) and there's a family reunion (Dad's side). Of course the chances of both these events happening again anytime soon are obsolete. My apologies for being so poor, everyone. I will instead be off to America's older bully but oh-so-charming cousin, England, for a few days to soak up some Anglophone culture. And I might pop in and see if I can steal Michael Phelps from the Olympics, or at least just touch his abs.