25 May 2008

Hands up Baby

More to come soon on my amazing adventures in the French countryside. But in the mean time, lets take a moment to reflect on the amazingness of the Eighties:

15 May 2008

I think Alice Coopers said it best: Schoooool's Out For Summer!!

And maybe a boy can dream of the "School's been blown to pieces" line too.

Last week I finished my remaining slew of exams. A few days later I was cycling across the Pont de Sully and started to feel strange. As I kept going along the Quai de la Tournelle I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. Past Notre-Dame Cathedral and its attendant flocks of tourists, and on to the Fontaine St-Michel. Then, it occurred to me. I was happy! I didn't have exams to stress over or university administration to hate or weather to complain about. Paris is great and all is right with the world.

This got me to thinking about what was wrong before. The answer of course is all too clear. School. A dark cloud that hung over me, poisoning everything it touched. No wonder I was going crazy! Now just two more hateful, alienating years to go... Sigh. Best not to think about that and focus on amazing summer funness.

My mum arrives early tomorrow and we are off to explore Normandy, the Loire and other places. It'll be great to see her, get out of Paris and finally see a different side of France.

08 May 2008


After our last exam yesterday evening, the student union organised a party in the park behind the school. People brought wine and snacks and generally got drunk having fun in the sun. One person happened to bring a charming French dish known as "andouillette." I figured, why not try? I was never going buy some of this delightful, savoury surprise myself, so it was a golden opportunity to sample one of France's lesser known delicacies.

I think the Wikipedia entry adequately describes the bountiful pleasures of andouillette and my wonderful experience eating it. Read on.

01 May 2008

En bas l'État, les flics et les patrons!

May 1st is International Socialist Labour Day - a holiday in super-socialist France - and the parade is passing right under my window! It's kind of like Pride, but with fewer drag queens and more communists, still going on three hours after it started.

It's a strange experience being in a place that really is so socialist. Unlike China, where they only pay lip service to socialism or communist ideals, France really does feel about two degrees away from the Soviet Union. The equality part of "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" has made solidarity the motivating force behind French economic policy. This had translated into some very interesting "Intro to Economics" classes. So many of the ideas and principals are far removed from what we get exposed to in Liberal, laissez-faire North America.

Last week I did a language evaluation for a guy who works at a large French insurance company. His job was to organise the company trips. Twice a year the company subsidies its employees to go on vacation to places like Madagascar! While we're worried about how we're going to split up our two weeks of holidays, people in France are having their employers pay for them to sit on the beach (or take a tango class or go back to school).

Couldn't we have just a touch more solidarity back home? Would it really be too much to ask?