31 December 2008

2008 Year In Review

Like sands through an hourglass, these are the days of our lives.

DOWN
¤...Trying andouillette sausage. Quite possibly the most foul and revolting thing ever to have been invented by mankind. Absolutely vile. (Post here).

¤...Stress from school, work and France turning my hair grey. After a long hiatus from the hairdresser whilst growing my hair, I was completely aghast to go a few weeks ago and see that fully one quarter of all the hair that was lying on the floor was grey! Grecian formula here I come!

¤...Failing a class by an eighth of a point (full story) and the horribleness of my school in general. I feel like I'm not really learning anything to which is added an impossible workload and a byzantine and incompetent administration. Justanotheryearandahalf, justanotheryearandahalf, justanotheryearandahalf. My new mantra.

¤...London gets a lot of flack for having bad weather, but the weather in Paris is equally as horrible all year long. Grey, wet, cold, windy, miserable. In December, there were eight hours of sunlight during the whole month! The very few sunny, hot days of summer were absolutely revolting: sweaty and humid without a lick of air conditioning, even in the subway (which is one place it is most desperately needed).

¤...Running myself into the ground with my insane work/school schedule this semester. Scurrying around the city from 9AM to 9PM most days of the week, scheduling homework time on the subway and collapsing, exhausted into bed at 2 in the morning, never managing to get everything done for the next day.

¤...It's hard to judge which was the singularly worst course in the thousand-year history of higher education: Théorie de la traduction taught by Mme Plassard or Mr Bruyère's Initiation au Droit (Intro to Law). Both classes were excruciatingly awful in their own way, but I think blatant xenophobia and racism on the part of Mr Bruyère might have made his class that extra slight bit worse. He did fail every single non-francophone in the class after all.

¤...Trying to renew my titre de séjour (my residence permit). Four appointments later and I still don't have the paperwork needed to get this taken care of. Every time I go an waste a day standing in line, they ask me for new documents which they haven't told me I needed to bring! After screaming and shouting my way through my most recent appointment, I left the immigration office in tears because I still don't have what I need, and now I'm an illegal alien!

¤...Michael moving back to Canada.

¤...About a solid month of bickering and fighting with my old lunatic roommate to get my deposit back. When I moved out, he insisted I pay for a professional to repaint my room to cover up two scratches on the wall. I, of course, thought this was preposterous and said I would do it myself. He said that was unacceptable. I said he was being unreasonable. And so on and so forth, etcetera, etcetera, until we were both so blue in the face that we gave up yelling and just sent hostile text messages and emails to each other. In the end we compromised, split the deposit 50/50 and neither one of us was happy.

¤...The worst week of my life. Already blogged about here. 'Nuff said.

UP

...Mika concert at Parc des Princes in June. Acrobats and juggling bears! Exotic girls, Fire-eaters! Muscle-men, contortionists! Intrigue, danger and romance! Electric lights, machinery, oh the electricity! — The best concert in the history of the Universe ever.

...Crazy roommate begone! Bye-bye smelly religious gay lawyer! Au revoir Sarajevo-style bathroom and washing machine in the middle of the kitchen! Adieu putrid cooking smells of rancid disgustingness (Sauerkraut + tinned brussel sprouts + fish heads in microwave)! Salut pastel patchwork shell-suit track pants that look like an Easter egg committed suicide. Good bloody riddance to any connexion I ever had to his sad, sorry, depressing and depressive life! I love my new apartment, my new neighbourhood and my new roommate. I couldn't be happier I moved.

...The simply amazing and wonderful people I've had the good fortune to meet. Michael, Cindy, Victoire, et al; you are wonderful and amazing people and I am truly blessed to have met you. Thank you for the many good times we shared over the past year (despite France's best efforts to ruin our lives).

...Champagne-soaked New Year's on the Champs Élysées with Polish and DN. A New Year's that actually lived up to the holiday hype for once!

...Feeling like the last person left on Earth, sitting on a rock next to a gurggling alpine waterfall, after hiking through the absolute remoteness of the Andorran Pyrenees.

...After being motivated by several seasons of So You Think You Can Dance, I finally joined a modern dance class in Paris. There is something fundamental about dance I totally love. You connect to something deeply 'inner' and carry it through you to the outside world. I'm begining to undertstand the deep emotional connexions people can have to dancing. —Plus, I'm not the worst person in the class.

...Escaping the tyrannical opulence and winter grey of Paris for some good ol' fashion QT with family and friends over Christmas. A year and a half is really far too long to be away.

... Cycling across the Pont de Sully in May. Life was good. Only five more months 'til I can do it all over again (or 151 days or 13,046,400 seconds, but who's counting?)

...Mum's visit. There's an old French saying that "Paris is not France." After two wonderful weeks exploring Normandy and the Loire, I couldn't agree more. The "real" France actually has chock-a-block charm with quaint little towns, wildflowers and smiling, friendly people. It was quite a revelation to me that I don't, in fact, hate France at all. It's just Paris that's a vacuum of ostentation and arrogance. Who knew?

...Travel. 2008 was rung in with a champagne hangover and trip to Rock the Casbah in Fes and wound up in the icy Jack Frost darkness of Canadiana winter. A fantastic travel year which included my first micro-state -the gorgeous mountains of Andorra-, punting down the Cam River in England, East-meets-West sauerkraut sensations in Berlin and rockin' round the clock during my Zürich layover.

New Year's Resolutions
As always, my New Year's Resolutions is to be more fabulous, which I hope to accomplish with the help of a snappy new suit and an increased champagne intake (I am living in France after all).

Another resolution for 2009 is to improve my French accent. My French accent was actually better before arriving in La France and has slowly degenerated into a mouth-full-of-marbles broad Anglo mess. It's time to faire des efforts as Gran-maman would say!

After 2008, the year of Lost In France, I think everything well on track for a fabuleux 2009.

Happy New Year!
Bonne Année !
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
明けましておめでとうございます!
恭賀新禧!

1 comment:

mia said...

Hi Daniel,
it was nice to read your post, so honest. I couldn't agree with you more about Paris being impossibly difficult but you seem to have made the most of your time this year (maybe you were forced to because of school :). But, Happy New Year to you and let's meet when I'm back in from Italy. Mia