It’s an odd community which forms quickly each month at the Institute de Français. On the one hand, you feel as if you know these people intimately, because you see them struggling in a foreign language, without their usual ability to mask themselves with the sophisticated guise of the mother tongue. On the other hand, I don’t know anyone’s last name or any details of their lives beyond where they live, maybe what their profession is, and, most importantly, how well they speak French.
With that caveat, I’d like to introduce two live-wire members of the Avancé II class, who reside at the top of the language hierarchy and always seem to know exactly the word I’m trying to find as I stumble through a conversation during a break between classes. I know that Barclay, seated left, lives in Alaska, and that she is here with her mother, who is also in the Avancé II class. I know that Andrea is from Australia--Tazmania, I think. Beyond that, I know they illumine any event they attend, and they are having a ball here.
Moi, I’m enjoying my third night of a moderately high fever. I went to Dr. Michalak, the same doctor Darlene saw three weeks ago. He prescribed some meds. So far I haven’t had to miss any classes. This seems crucial, because Jean is quickly crafting an architecture of language which will enable us to speak in fairly complex sentences. But it seems clear that if I miss the part about how the subjunctive follows “pour que” to indicate intention, then my train will be decoupled. So I’m sleeping lots, moving slowly, and waiting for the microbes to depart.
Darlene has appointment to see our French family doctor tomorrow, because she has not completely recovered from her version of the bug. She is terrified of getting sick again and missing more classes.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Axel, a student in my class, points out the location of Le Parc National Mercantour, which he expored last weekend and discussed in his expose on Monday. He even brought pieces of a traditional mountain cake which was served in the refuge where he spent Saturday night, so we all enjoyed a veritable taste of his trip. Our professor, Jean, dressed in black as usual, watches from his chair.
Tonight I appear to be coming down with a fever, so I hope I get the two- or three-day version of the Institut bug and not the nasty one which kept Darlene out of school for three days in April. Sleep is my only strategy, and lots of Gini, a lemon soft drink.