11 December 2009

A de-stressing celebration

This week was a candidate for one of my most stressful in France.  

Since September, I've been taking a 20th century French literature course toward my French degree.  Since I did this class by correspondence, I was obligated to read not only the six French novels required for the course, but also scores of analyses and articles about the works I studied and the 20th century literary movements, and be in frequent contact with my instructor to inform her of my progress.  Nearly all of my free time was consumed by reading, scouring libraries for literary analyses, writing essays, and doing exams.  I even gave a live 12 minute presentation on Skype with my French prof. I can't begin to count the amount of times I asked myself why on earth I thought I could handle this class while working in France, but I'm happy to report that my efforts were not in vain.  I earned a 97% in the class!  Yes it was miserable at times, but I was introduced to some very interesting literature, and my reading and writing skills have certainly improved.  What better place to study French literature than France itself?

The reading list:
  • Un Amour de Swann, by Marcel Proust
  • L'Etranger, by Albert Camus
  • Huis Clos, by Jean-Paul Sartre
  • En Attendant Godot, by Samuel Becket (Yes, Waiting for Godot was first written in French!
  • Moderato Cantabile, by Marguerite Duras*   My personal favorite!
  • La Place, by Annie Ernaux
Adding to the stress of the last week of class, I also had my classroom observation this week. My responsable from the French government observed me in own of my CM1 classes, which also happened to be a Christmas lesson.  I've been agonizing over this for weeks, but happily, she was pleased with my performance, and discussed my strengths in the classroom with me afterwards.  She also offered plenty of good advice for the future, which I will definitely take to heart.

To celebrate the end of my stressful week, Hélène and I retreated to Amnéville to an exclusive spa called 
Villa Pompei.  Villa Pompei is built over natural hot salt springs, and resembles Ancient Rome, complete with columns, frescoes, and countless hot and cold baths.  It was glorious to swim in a hot bath in the outdoor portion, since it was below zero outside!  Steam billowed into the freezing air, and it was such a strange sensation to experience! The various baths have built in air jets to massage various parts of the body, like the knees, neck, back, shoulders, or even full body.  I also had my first experience with hammam (also known as a Turkish bath), which is a heated steam room scented with eucalyptus that causes the bather to sweat profusely, cleansing the body and rejuvenating the skin.  There were also saunas and hot marble to recline on.  In my entire life, I've never seen something so incredible, this environment brought me straight to ancient Rome, I fancied myself in a toga.  (maybe next time) It was the ideal ending to the week from hell, and I'm pretty sure I was in lullaby land before my head even hit the pillow. 


  1. Dang girl, congrats all around! I am quite impressed with your reading level -- I don't know if I could make it through all those books!

    And now you've got me craving a visit to Amnéville. Maybe next semester!

  2. A fitting reward for your hard work! Mom


Related Posts with Thumbnails