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I went with Cat and her boyfriend/love interest/whatever, Fred, to Paris today.  Fred is French and pretty much speaks no English, which of course isn't a problem because we just spoke French all day, we can do that, no big deal.  But the thing is that he doesn't really understand what it's like to learn another language.  When I was in Paris for the lolita meetup, it got to the point where I felt so comfortable speaking French to everyone, even though dear lord everyone knows it's far from perfect, which is something I usually can never achieve around native speakers....and it was all because I felt like no matter what I said, the person I was talking to was legitimately listening to what I was saying.  It's so hard to explain, but you can immediately tell, when you're talking to someone in their native language, whether or not they've tried to learn another language themselves.  Because those who have know just how impossible it is to be perfect and fluid and confident, and because they've been in the exact same situation themselves, they realize that no matter how ugly my sentence structure might be, there IS a point in there and it IS actually what I want to say, I promise.  No one can tell me that my French isn't good enough be understandable, it's just a fact that at this point I can pretty much say anything I need to...it just won't be pretty.  But people who have never tried to learn another language, like Fred, start getting caught up in my stumblings and mispronunciations and general language train wrecks and I can see them start to get distracted and just sort of end up only catching on to the "general gist" of what I'm saying, and I just want to throttle them.  LISTEN TO MY WORDS I promise they are telling you something, even though they aren't perfect!!!!!  Unfortunately, you can't space out and then assume things when I'm talking to you, because I might not use the right language cues that you're used to or say everything in the correct relation to everything else like you'd normally hear, so you have to listen to everything otherwise you'll probably miss the point.

People who only know one language have NO idea how hard it is to find the right words in a language you're not fluent in....I'm not trying to complain about how hard it is or try to be a drama queen about it, but it's true.  Yeah, I understand the vast majority of words that are thrown my way....but then when I want to find them again to make a sentence myself? So. hard.  Imagine those moments when you know that word you want, it's on the tip of your tongue gaaahhhh, and then imagine that every time you wanted to say something lol  It's hard when people like Fred don't really realize that, and then their first impression of you is that you're not too bright.  I cannot even tell you how many times I have gotten a clear "You're kind of stupid" vibe from someone I'm talking to because of my limited means of communitcation.  I'm sorry, I may not be the next Nobel prize winner, but I consider myself a pretty knowledgeable and reasonably intelligent human being.  Just because I cannot wow you with my thought process in fluent French does not mean that it doesn't exist....  What other languages do you know, punk?  Say "winner," I dare you  >.<  (if you can ever get a French person to try and say this, do it - it's hilarious in a 7th-grade humor sort of way because unless they have a seriously close-to-perfect accent, the closest they can get is "weiner" XD  And then, if they are being a dick (lol), laugh really loud and make fun of them for "not being able to say such a simple word"  They've done it to me before with French pronunciation, trust me =_=  Cat was thiiisss close to slapping Fred on the train for making fun of how she said "Luxembourg" because apparently her ending vowel sound* wasn't 200% perfect.  Yes, I actually can hear that it is a different sound, but I physically cannot get my mouth to do it.  Laughing and repeating it 10928340249832 times isn't going to help anyone.  I'm sorry.  Believe me, if I could change it I would, I don't talk this way just to annoy you.  I spent 20 years listening and speaking with a different set of vowels*.  So sue me.)

(on a more charitable note, for any of you out there who ever have to deal with a non-native speaker....I beg you, for my sake...please listen to the words they choose.  They may not be perfect, but they chose them for a reason and probably had a hard time doing it to begin with, they're not just spewing gobbledegook to confuse you XD)

He was also sort of being a whiney baby towards the beginning because every once in a while I'd turn to Cat and say something in English, and he'd be all like, what did you say, talk in French!!!  =_=  I am one of those people that has to make utterly innane commentary about everything I see, Cat has told me herself that she loves how I have absolutely no system of restraint between brain and mouth...she never has to wonder what I'm thinking about something because I just say it (so true bahaha).  So these comments that Fred was so strung up on were things like, "OMG CAT LOOK see that building?!  You can see this cool painting on the wall inside!" or, "Cat OMG that guy is walking the cutest dog!" or "Look at that woman's shirt it reminds me of this one time when..." and then he'd pitch a fit so we'd explain it in French and he'd sort of be like...oh...that's not interesting,  why did you even say that? =____=  Or like, at one point I turn to Cat and go "I fucking. LOVE. the Eiffel Tower" and she BUSTS up laughing because of the way I said it, and Fred was like, whatwhatwhat??  And I mean, you can't really translate that, so Cat was like, "Um, she likes the Eiffel Tower.  A lot."  Which while yeah, that is technically what I said, it's not really at all.  He got better, though, and towards the end of the day stopped asking us to translate every stupid commentary we made hahaha.

Anyway, THEN, tonight that IDIOT Spanish guy down the hall, who borrowed Cat's pan THREE WEEKS AGO and STILL hadn't returned it even though she'd asked him multiple times, came and knocked on her door with her pan (FINALLY).  Already we're both seething because even though thank god it's finally back, that's just sort of unacceptable.  So as he's handing her the pan, he says to us, "is there someone here who speaks really good French?"  WHAT I DON'T EVEN....  Fred pokes his head around (we were eating dinner and watching a movie) and is like "yes, I am French...?" and homeboy commences to give his excuses about how he completely forgot about it, he kept trying to give it back (BLATANT lie), and blahblahblah, whatever, in accented and not entirely correct French.  Cat almost slammed the door in his face on his way out.  EXCUSE ME?!!!  WTF WAS THAT "Is there someone here who speaks really good French"????!!!!!!!!  I canNOT believe he had the balls to say something like that.  Actually, I did understand every bit of your pathetic and non-fluent excuse for an excuse, WHAT exactly were you trying to insinuate with that question???????  (you know in Emperor's New Groove when Patcha is talking to his wife about how the Emperor couldn't see him, and his wife is like "that was so rude I'd go back over there and demand to see him you know I would" and she gets so worked up she literally starts snorting and then is like "I need to go wash something" ???  a.  One of my favorite scenes.  b.  That was me and Cat)

Anyway, even though I'm rantrantranting, I did have a really good time in Paris today, Fred is actually a nice person and I had fun with him even though he's insufferably French sometimes, it's been beautiful outside and I have lots more fun things to write about later this weekend, but I just needed to vent for a little bit hahahaha....and then tomorrow I'll do a I-went-to-Carnivale-and-wore-lolita-and-then-had-a-tea-party-and-then-went-to-Paris entry :3

*I've decided that one of the (thousands of) reasons French is so difficult is that, in the majority of cases, French people slur their vowels, whereas American's slur their connsonates.  Think about it.  For example, we say "I-yon' wa'a go," ("I don't want to go" ....say it out loud a few times and you will not be able to deny the genius of my transcription lawl) and pretty much every vowel sound is the same, but the consonances are all messed up.  We have some slurring of vowels and well, but for the most part, if someone's going to get sloppy with English, they're going to drop all the consonant sounds they can and run the rest of them together.  It's the opposite in French (it sounds to me, anyway) - they keep the consonant sounds but change the vowels, which already they have a billion more vowel sounds than we do (Phonetics class, last semester- Professor:  What is the difference between these three sounds?  "oo" "oo" "oo"  Me:  .....trick question??? =_= )

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One of the Americans who arrived at semester and who I originally hatehatehated (she was from California, which kind of explains it) but now I like her much better, because at least she isn't bitchy to me like another American girl in my class (she's decided she hates me, for literally no reason except probably because I'm better/more confident at French) was talking about how much she missed Taco Bell here XD I'm not sure what to say about that hahaha...I was never very into fast food restaurants in the US, pretty much every food I am obsessed with is very French to begin with (desserts, cheese) or easy to find and probably better here anyway (fresh fruits and vegetables...), so I haven't really found myself missing anything. Even peanut butter, which I am kind of in love with at home (crunchy peanut butter sandwiches were my meal of choice for lunch and dinner throughout most of high school) hasn't really seemed that important while I'm here.

So I was thinking about it, and here are the foods I miss most from back home:

TOAST...dear god I miss toast ;_; I don't know if this actually counts, because the French have toast...I just don't have a toaster in my dorm to make it with. Which is such a shame, because toast and cheese?? toast and foie gras??? toast and chestnut jam??!! All my favorite things here would go perfectly with toast. Aahhhh, toast~ When I get back, I think I'm going to live off of nothing but toast for a few weeks....

grapes - again, they do actually have grapes here, but since it's illegal or something to genetically modify food, they all have seeds (did you know that? seedless grapes aren't actually natural) and I cannot handle them. The best part of a grape is that you can just pop it into your mouth, no fuss, and you can pick at them, just have three or four, you don't have to commit like you do with an apple or pear or something...but add in the minuscule little seeds that you have to figure out what to do with once they're in your mouth and grapes just lose all their appeal :/

tuna fish - for some reason tuna fish is stupidly expensive here, and being the poor student I am, I'd rather spend that 2.75euro per tin on something better....like shoes or macarons XD

a good chicken dinner - no oven, no pan, no one else to eat it but me....not much point in even trying this one

my grandmother's Swedish tea ring - she makes it for me for every birthday and Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter and I didn't get ANY this year T______T

Ben and Jerry's ice cream - every time I see one, I wonder....do you think they'd give me a free cone since I'm from Vermont??? doubt it hahaha...besides, they don't have the good flavors anyway

real pancakes - we bought a pancake mix at the store and it was bizzaarrreeee...the pancakes turned out very dense, fairly small and VERY sweet...they weren't bad per say, but they weren't the big stack of light fluffy golden goodness that is American pancakes

Tootsie pops - only the red ones that are actually good (also in the category of disgustingly fake American candy, Reese's)

Odwalla carrot juice - this stuff is godddllyyyyy...I was not in the habit of drinking this NEARLY as much as I should have to make up for my year without it, shame on me D:

Also, while we're on the subject of things I miss...BATHS. No one is going to recognize me when I get back because I am going to be one giant PRUNE from sitting in the tub at every spare moment (probably while eating toast and grapes bahahaha). And pretty dishes, too...here I'm lucky if I'm not eating out of the container of something =_= I own a total of one real bowl, one real mug, a bunch of glass jam or pickle jars I washed out and use as containers/mugs/bowls
some silverware borrowed from the dining hall, one pretty spoon I bought in Paris, one little plate I bought at Baby, and one Marie Antoinette mug I haven't used yet for fear of breaking it. siiigghhhhhh my inner lolita winces every time I have to sit down with a glass jar of oatmeal or whatever T_T

And now...things I'm going to miss when I go back home:

CHHEEESSSEEEEEEE - all of it. Desperately. I foresee myself going broke trying to buy the expensive cheese imported from France and STILL not being satisfied T_____T

the usual, foie gras, butter, pastries, MACARONS, chestnut jam, any kind of bread, CANDIED CHESTNUTS - I also foresee myself losing about 10 pounds because I will no longer want to eat anything after having been spoiled with superior French products

Also, Haribo strawberry candy (the one with the ridiculous name, like, Tagadadkaka or something XD), Daim candy (like Heath Bar Crunch only bettteeerr), the little almond cakes I can buy out of the vending machine outside of class for 60 centimes, cheap marzipan, Hollywood style strawberry gum, galettes that I buy every Sunday with egg and ham and emmenthal and snarf down in 3.5 seconds, amazingly prepared lamb and duck, more bread and cheese, more pastries.

In short...I'd MUCH rather give up toast and grapes and Tootsie pops for what I have here hahahahaha. Which is why, to conclude, you will NOT be hearing me complain about missing Taco Bell =_=

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This girl has a website writing random thank you notes to things in her life, it's adorable.

I thought I'd do one of my own...

Dear US cell phone,
Thank you for popping up in one of my drawers, and encouraging me to turn you on, open you up, and remember things. Like the photos I took of my grandmother playing Skip Bo before we left, the traces of my sister messing around with my phone, the text message about that day this past fall when everyone else had started the semester but I had nothing to do so I went to one of Hannah's chemistry lectures and drew all over her notes. I've sort of forgotten which of your buttons do what, but you smell and feel just like summer, and remind me of all the amazing people I will go back to in two months.

I'm sorry you don't get service here, you're probably bored out of your mind, but can't wait to see what I've missed when I get back to the US. Until then, thank you.
Love, Emily

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Before I write up a big long post about the meetup in Paris, here's something to keep you occupied X3

This is an interview with Mme Audrey Alwett and M Francois Amoretti, the writer and illustrator of Gothic Lolita.  And, after meeting M. Amoretti and having him dedicate his newest book, I am pretty much head over heels in love with him >w<

I didn't feel like doing my French homework, so instead I translated the video for you, if anyone is interested XD  I didn't translate the first part with the host because she bugs me and it's not important, but here's the actual interview transcription:Collapse )

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I think I've solved my dress dilemma - I realized that my pink dress had adjustable straps, so I was able to add another inch and a halfish to the length ^u^  Still not perfect, but better than nothing!

So now I have to figure out how I'm going to wear my hair....
(keep in mind that cameras always minimize the amount of poof that one actually has on one's head, so imagine this much more epic, s.vp. X3 and also...I'm only wearing one false eyelash and no makeup *faaillllll*)

Also, whichever one I pick, I'm going to put pearls throughout my hair as well, but didn't have the time or patience to do it as examples...

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Oh, parles-tu française?

Tuesdays are my absolute worst days of class. I have to get up at 8, but for the four nights beforehand I get into the habit of staying up late and getting up in the afternoon, so even though I put myself in bed at 10:00 Monday nights it's IMPOSSIBLE for me to fall asleep before 1am. This morning I woke up when my alarm went off, then decided it would be okay to go back to sleep just 10 more minutes...and then had a dream* that my alarm had gone off an hour early so I reset it and could sleep until it went off again. WRONG. I woke up in a panic 5 minutes before class started and rushed over so I wouldn't be late for the test we had =_= Then until noon I have class with one of the most obnoxious teachers ever, then I have a two hour break, then my Simulation Globale class which is fun but by the third straight hour I am ready to fling myself from the window, and THEN we have to trek up the hill for a big lecture hall class until 6:30. Dear. God. Literally the only reason I even ever go to my lecture is because Lin Meng and Xiao and Dan (my new chinese friend!! she is beeyoonddd cute, as usual haha) are in it, and it's the only time I get to see them (darn adorable chinese girls, keeping me honest! haha).

*Before that I had a dream that I went to Baby in Paris, only the store was kind of lame. They were having a sale and tons of the Chinese girls from my class were buying parasols, but I didn't really want one. I was dressed in himegyaru fashion, too, instead of lolita. I had a gift certificate so I ended up getting a pen.

I woke up for a few moments and fell back asleep again, and then I dreamt that my sister and I were out in the forest somewhere with a bunch of other people, doing something, when all of a sudden we were attacked by this giant fire demon thing. We start running and for some reason she's carrying me, I think because I had hurt my leg or something. I'm like, this is stupid, let me down, and we continue in that excruciatingly slow dream-run as the flames are licking at our heels. We finally end up at the edge of the forest and there's Lake Bomoseen ahead of us (where my family has a cabin in southern Vermont), so we literally slide down the stairs on our butts in our haste, and hunker down in the water to escape. Somehow my friend Sarah's little sister Hope ends up with us, and the three of us are clutching each other and scared out of our wits. Then the demon thing finds us and it's kind of like a cross between the Eye of Sauron and a Ring Wraith-type thing in the center, and we realize that everyone else has been burnt up. It sort of laughs at our pathetic attempt to escape and is like, I'm going to get you anyway, you'll have better luck trying to run away on land. We are paralyzed with fear at this point so even though we know it's toying with us we sort of drag ourselves out of the water and get ready to run. Hope turns into Alyssa, a girl that lived in my neighborhood and was friends with my sister when we were about 10 and 6, and starts heading for the trees again. I realize suddenly that this is a dream, and that I can wake up and everything will be okay, but I don't want to leave my sister. I turn to her and tell her what I'm going to do, and I promise that I'll only be gone for a moment, that I'll wake her up as soon as I'm back so she can escape with me, and force myself awake. Then I realize that I'm in France, she's on another continent, and there's nothing I can do. I felt really bad and still scared, actually. I facebooked her this morning as soon as I had my break to make sure she made it out okay :/

There were some upticks today, though...I walked to our second half of class with Ryo (the Japanese student, who's trying to become a fashion designer and who I've talked to about lolita a little...but I originally had to say "gosurori" in my absolute best attempt at a Japanese accent before he understood what I meant haha. He sometimes does visual kei and knows lolita exists, but that's about it), and we were talking about what we were doing this weekend, and I told him that there was a lolita meetup in Paris I was going to XD He said he wanted pictures heehee.

In my Simulation Globale class where we pretend to be someone else, I got to practice asking questions in the inversion because it's the most polite form...as in, "Va-t-elle arriver?" instead of "Est-ce qu'elle va arriver?" which is actually fun when you realize what you're doing, and just sounds so much prettier and more intelligent.

Then I had a huge long and involved discussion with my NICE French teacher during our break about the difference between the verbs embarasser, gêner, and troubler. I love sitting down and really reaching full comprehension about all the implications and subtext of words. (For those interested, embarasser is NOT equivalent to the English embarrass. It technically can be used in that context, but it's more mild, and mostly it's more like...to be bothered by something. The teacher used an example of being bothered by someone's outrageous outfit, or if someone was sitting too close to you. The verb gêner is the one to use for being embarrassed strongly, but it can also have a sense of being disrupted or troubled by something. The French often say "Si ça ne te gêne pas..." as in...if it doesn't bother you, would you mind doing this or that? Or something like, "this mess is troubling me, I can't work like this." And troubler is the same as both the verbs, but without the sense of shame or embarrassment, and also equivalent to our verb to trouble/bother)

Unfortunately Xiao or Dan wasn't in lecture today, it was just Lin Meng, but we conversed happily anyway. On the way back from class, she was talking about the cute bunnies that live on campus, and I was like, "Yeah! I've seen them! One night my friends and I were coming home at like 6 in the morning..." and she goes "Eh?!" in surprise. I mix up my pronouns and instead of saying "we," I respond, "Oui, ils sont allés à la discothèque"


"The bunnies went to the dance club" XDDD

Neither of us caught it, and then later, when I was walking into my dorm, I had a quick giggle to myself at how ridiculous yet adorable that sounded X3 Next time we go to the club, I'm bringing along some bunnies >w< bien sûr~!!