Day 17: Bastille Day!

17 Jul

During the day I slept in and worked on this blog.
Then the weather FINALLY cleared up so the family and I had lunch outside on the water. So nice.
Turns out my Au Pair mom was an au pair when she first arrived to France (No wonder she’s amazing!)

I met up with Melinda (another au pair from Germany) around 3pm and we planned our night.
Something I’ve really noticed about the French culture is that all plans are kind of up in the air. There’s no specific time and people can cancel and it’s no big deal.
I don’t agree with this lifestyle. I’m all for winging it at times, just not all the time. Therefore Melinda is amazing and I’m excited to spend the night with her. Also to have a friend to travel with! Melinda can speak French, German and English. So she practices English with me and I practice French with her. It’s awesome.

My au pair mom and dad took Melinda, Constantin and I all to Paris by car.
We drove down the Champs-Elysée (cue song) and we went around the scary roundabout!
In case you aren’t familiar, there is an 11-lane roundabout surrounding the Arc de Triomphe. People drive crazily around this thing and you have to be aggressive. I was scared to go around it, but it totally wasn’t that bad. Lame.
Melinda and I were dropped off and we made our way to Sacre Coeur.
The reason we went to Sacre Coeur was because Melinda’s au pair mom said that was the best place to see the fireworks for Bastille day.
Spoiler alert – it’s totally not. Sacre Coeur is WAY north of the fire works (which happen around the Eiffel Tower in case you’re wondering.)
Melinda and I found this news out a little too late (along with hundreds of other people) and we missed the fire works.
It’s okay, I can watch them on Youtube tomorrow.

Anyways, back to the story.
So Melinda and I made our way to Sacre Coeur and sat on the steps. This is our view.
You can pretty much see all of Paris. It’s beautiful.
Melinda and I got out seats around 8pm, fireworks started at 10:45pm. We had time.
There was a street performer who balanced a soccer ball a million different ways. I’ll post a video, it’s the only thing that does him justice. We also took a picture with him.

There was also a singer who had various people come and sing with him. So I had to join in!
Singing on the steps of the Sacré Coeur in front of hundreds of people I don’t know? Check that one off the bucket list.
Although I forgot the words to the 2nd part of Black Horse and Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall, Melinda and I had an absolute blast sitting on the steps of the Sacré Coeur and just looking over the city skyline. I’ll upload the video in the next post.

So it finally reaches 10:45 and we hear fireworks coming from somewhere else.
We make a mad dash (along with everyone else at Sacre Coeur) to the other side of the town.
And there was a guy pulling people onto this van to watch the fireworks.
No idea whose van it is, but I hope it didn’t get dented.
Melinda and I headed back after a fun night of festivities.

ALSO! I had a HUGE breakthrough in the language department and was speaking and thinking of sentences much faster than normal! TAKE THAT, FRENCH.
I’ve been really down in the dumps for the language department. I just feel like I’m not improving, I’m still asking SO many questions and I’ve been studying this language for 8 years, what gives? But then I realized that I’ve been studying the literature aspect mainly. Yes, some grammar and conversation but there are also a bunch of slang terms that are spoken that I have no clue of. I’m still having trouble with the tenses here. But when speaking I guess people mainly use present, passé composé or future. My friend Melinda asked this French girl a question about the subjunctive and she was like, C’est quoi? Yikes.
So I will continue to work on using those tenses (subjontif, imparfait, conditionnel) properly, but for right now I’m going to stick with using the present, past tense and future tense until I feel really comfortable with it.

I just realized today that French is so much easier than English, in that, there aren’t as many words. I’ve been searching for very in-depth vocabulary that French doesn’t really have. Forming sentences is about being creative and saying what you’d like to in a very different way than English. For those who do not speak another language, this may not make much sense. If one were to say, “My hands are sticky” it’s perfectly normal in French (like in English) to say something else if you don’t know the vocabulary for sticky. You could in turn say “My hands are messy” in Frenh of course. A language is a lot less daunting when you don’t have to know EVERY vocabulary word.


2 Responses to “Day 17: Bastille Day!”

  1. John Parkinson July 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Excellent narrative, thought this more constitutes a novel than a blog 0.o Great to hear about your adventures!

  2. Becky Kolemainen July 18, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    Courtney this is fantastic. Thanks for blogging. I’m feeling so French 😉 What a grand experience you’re having! 🙂 Take care!

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