Argile Ecossais Wallanklagebank

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A new semester begins!

Hello, Bonjour et Manaôna. The three languages of my home. How are you all? I miss you so much and keep thinking of all the fun things we have to do when I get back. (June/July) I'm really liking it here and wish i could stay longer, but that would be too long not seeing you all. Keep me posted on what you're all up to!!

And yes, a new semester has started. I've decided this semester to try to take the easiest load possible so i will be able to concentrate on soaking in the French/European life, this includes traveling. For my tests i only have one final paper to do and that's it so i should be able to accomplish my goals and still keep my home and abroad universities happy.

For classes last week I tried losts of history classes and a lit class. i didnt like the classes on Pre-history so i will find some other classes to replace those. I really liked my Cinéma class. We are going to read The War of the Worlds (see pic) and watch the new and old movies. Then i will write a paper comparing the three. It is a 1 credit class and the teacher, a newer one, said she would have me write a 10 pg paper. I let her know politely that that was too much-i have 2 credit classes that are asking me that much. I really liked my history of the middle ages class. The teacher talked super slow, which brought many moans and groans from the students. Sadly french students are really hard on teachers and many have break downs and have to deal with depression and all that. She did say a date once so slowly that you probably would have been able to write it down even if your were sleeping. But she is just trying to be nice because class notes mean everything here. they don't even assign books to read here for history. I think I'm going to thank her for speaking so slowly the next time i talk to her. That was day one- Eight hours straight.

Near my my uni-the tabacco factory. Tommarow marks the day that it is illegal to smoke in in closed places in france. No smoking at the tabacco facotory.

Day two was easier First teacher didn't show up for "ancient french/roman history." Roman history was with the teacher i liked who gave me a real written test last semester. Since i hope to be in Slovakia/Poland in June during finals, i will get to take an oral exam for that class in may. Might as well try it. The teacher in the next class was the opposite of the slow talker. She talked extremely fast, faster than Kathleen when she's really going. Usually i can just switch off really fast french. But her french was so clear-amazing for that velosity- so clear that i could easily pick it up. Honestly i was starting to get a head ache at the end of the class, 2hrs. next day, late for first class at.... noon, went to the wrong class the next time. Had to sneek out-not polite to leave in the middle of class like we are totally free to do at UM. Fry day i had a grammer class- we learned the wierdest rules of agreement. Go crazy French. Basically they just have random rules you have to apply when writing. To add an "e" or not, that is the question. I have a while to figure out my class schedule for sure.

I saw Harold the other day-time 3. He was in the same conditon as the first time i saw him.

The first week in Jan was the commencement of the church season Ephiphany and in France they have the tradition of eating an Ephiphany cake and whoever finds the little toy gets to wear the crown that goes with the cake. Fanja, host mom, won twice at church, Anthony at home, and Matilde and I at her place (she got the bigger one. :( )

I recently bought the first season of Alias and we have been watching it in english and french. very good. we will have to have alias parties at my place in missoula when i get back.

I also have made many book purchaces lately. See pic...

As you can see in these pics, i have started a euro coin collection. Each country gets to decorate one side/or 2 sometimes. there is also a 500 Malagasi Ariary. equivilant= $ .o7

Fact 1: One flash of a digital camera will stop an auditorium of 150 students.
Fact 2: Technically speaking information you get from your class can be seen as "intellectual property" encluding pictures. (He was surprised and amused)

The following is intelectual property of my history prof, so i give M. Cortieu of Aincient Art History the credit just incase.

Here is some stuff from la passé that i didnt put on here because i lost the list till recently.

It finally snowed here, but quickly melted. just like Missoula last winter.

I had to go to the Dr. for a check up so i could get my Carte de Sejour (temp. residency card). After the tests w/ the nurses i went to see the dr. He had me take off my shirt to check heart/breathing... and then he grabbed the little bit of belly fat that i have and said Oh hon hon, ah-tahn seeyun, too much may-O-naise and cola heh. And did you know that in a liter of coke there are 60 cubes of sugar? yes that's fact 3.

I got to go to the Gallo-Roman Museum near the ancient roman theater with a teacher as a guide. Museums are much better with an expert. We got to walk on a real roman tile decorated floor-which never happens. and i got to see a special setup of the ancient Gauls-people who lived in france at the time of rome. They were disguisting people constantly sacrificing people. I was disguisted.

We recently ran out of paper towels... That won't happen again.

France enters the "super-size me" culture, but a little over anxiously.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hey everyone how's it going? Good here. I've finished all my finals papers and just have a grammar final on friday. it is so good to be done with all that work. it was very stressful and i just happened to get a cold at the same time! Fun.

Check out the left bar. I added some friends. If any of you want to be added just let me know. You have to have to have to read Alice's most reacent blog and watch the movie. The movie is so touching and her blog story- as Alice once said- Hilarating! haha

My old proprietaire, people who owned la sagitaire, continued to live up to their nickname -Disaster. (from carrier delaster). a couple of weeks ago i got a bill for january, feb, and march even though i was moving out the end of december. I went to the international relations and she called them for me. Opps, we for got to turn off you account. .... Opps we charged you $1200. I love the flippancy with other peoples money there. i actually find it funny (not bitter). God's watching out for me. Another girl, Marie, spent the weekend in the dark because the electric company got turn off happy. I think it was bad communication/paper work type stuff. I dont really understand it all. but it was another opps. Ohh, the joys of france.

I've decided that this first month of living with my family is just going to be a month of realizing my horrible french mistakes and lack of vocab and working towards understanding everything that is said. (ha sometimes they start speaking malagasi to me and i'm lost) But some days i'm like, wow how did you just use that word, you've never used it b4 really, and you just used it perfectly. Alice said her english when she was at whitewater was kinda like that. it just comes out of nowhere. I've been trying to watch lots of french mtv and read. i want to read lots and do atleast an hour of grammar/vocab learning the languge every day.

I live by the black dot in the orange reagion in the bottom right-Lyon. paris is in the top center.

My best description for france at the moment: its like a wierd dream, it doesn't seem like i'm in a real place. Ok later!!! Clay

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Family and random stuff

Hello again everyone here's some more pics of my new family and a bunch of random information/happenings i wanted to put on here.

The family is as follows l-r Tolotra-Cousin, Anthony (host fam's son), Boul-cousin, Fanja-host mom, Tsanta- bro of Boul, Zozo-cousin, Hoby-cousin that used to live with host fam. (thinking of moving back in, so i would have another bro!), me.

In this second pic is Joshua-host dad, and Zozo dansing at the Malgash (Madagascarian) new years party.

If you want to see the traditional Malgash dance go to:

Now for some random stuff.

Uses of "French" in our language
-French fries
-French toast
-Pardon my French
-French kiss
-French tease
-French nails
anyone have any others?

Between 1821 (mexican independence) and 1861, Mexico had 240 government overthrows!! thats six per year or one every 2 months! In the 1860's France invaded Mexico, Spain, England and France went there to get back money loaned to the leader of mexico at that time and after France decided to stay to increase their empire.

My host mom, Fanja, baby sits a 1year old ish baby girl during the week, so far the only reaction i have gotten out of her is a terror filled scream and crying.

I got an email from one of the people at the International Relations office here that started: Oh Oh Oh, Merry Christmas... not quite santa there.

I did laundry here at my host family's place and my host mom had me put almost as much clothes in here half sized washer as i could fit in the giant washer at the laundry mat. I litterally had to cram the clothes in. At home we always have to gently fill our newer washer, not cram it. I felt odd doing it their way.

Back home in the US it takes one dollar to do a change of address with the post office if you use the internet or call. its free if you go to the p.o. For just 6 mos of change here i had to pay 22 euros!!! just under 30 dollars! There is a fee for absolutely everything here!!!! I propose an American Military invasion so we can teach them how to correctly provide services!!! Free, the American way. you have to pay 15-35 cents to call a 1800 number. pay about 100 dollars just to get your phone line working (which i didn't even use!!).

You can do your banking at the P.O. but you cant buy a stamp there... Actually you can buy postal stamps there, but the first time i was told to buy an OME stamp (55 euro stamp proving you payed a fee, not a postal stamp actually) i was very confused.

Here is a video of my bedroom, all moved in!!! :

I've had lots of interesting meals here with my host family. we eat rice almost every day (Madagascar was apparantely first setteled by ASIANS, even though it is very far from Asia and right next to Africa. Note that some of the cousins above look asian) (the chinese also discovered American before europeans did, they weren't really interested in more land, they already had almost their present size in land.) We also had boiled potatoes with melted cheese over them, just like they do in the mountains. ha

I made about the stupidest mistake of my live b4 leaving to visit Alice's family for christmas. My belgian friend Silka asked me to get her return train ticket out of her mail box and gave me the keys because her train to going home left b4 she would get the return ticket in the mail. I agreed. I still haden't checked her mail when the day she left she left a sticky note saying to give here keys to a friend. I promptly gave them to him so i wouldn't forget to give him the keys. when i had finished christmas at alices and moved in with my french family i got a message from Silka asking if i had gotten her ticket. At that moment i realized i couldn't get into her mail because i had given away her keys!!!! and the person i gave them to had went to paris!!!! What was i supposed to tell her, um i cant get into your mail box because i gave away your keys, you can't come back/you have to buy another one if you want to come back for finals. Yes i felt extremely stupid, and at the same time thought it was a hilarious mistake, just like in the movies. I texted the person, Damien, with the keys. later on i randomly walked into my room and glanced at my phone. Somehow Damien had just called, i didn't hear it ring, the phone answered the call somehow and he was just waiting on the other line. It was so wierd, it took me a few seconds to really answer. He was still in Lyon so everything worked out. moral of the story, despite my complete flakey, absent minded actions someone is still watching out for me/us. haha life is not dull when your not all there.

Last story, the other day after I met the guy who inspected my old room i took my bike home on the metro. One of the security or whatever guys working for the metro came up to me and started half chewing me out for doing this. all of a sudden an older man nearby started chewing out the security guard for "tutoying" me, that is using the informal form of you when addressing me ("tu" is you informal/impolite in this situation, and "vous" is the polite forme). It was kinda funny that the person who had just been chewing me out, was getting chewed out. (it wasn't like a fight or anything). I was very very happy that a FRENCH person had just stuck up for me an american (dont know if he knew that).

And lastly I didn't know they said this in french but here goes:

I <3 ta maman... I love your mama!!

My new address is:
Clay Murdock
49, ave normandie niemen
69150 Décines-Charpieu

Cell phone is still: 06 80 68 57 02

Dont forget to look at my last blog, I did it recently. Later!!!!

Monday, January 01, 2007

catch up

hey everyone whats up? i've been busy recently and have been trying to do this blog forever so here goes. i did have a list but lost it, sad.

Lyon here has a special "festival of lights" each december 8. it is a huge deal and millions of peps come to lyon to visit, its now a 4 day deal. they light up popular buildings and have other special stuff. it was actually a bit disappointing. too much talk not enough walk, but definately worth seeing. they gave 17 century sculptures and buildings a painted look etc. there was also alot of errie music, we kept wondering what was up with the music.

I have a good story about our first night out to see the lights too: Ellie (england), Catrine (quebec), Rita(finland) and I (in order of pic) decided we were going to meet some of their friends in another part of town. when we started our journey her friends were already waiting for us in the meeting place. well first ellie and stephen had to have pizza that took 45 min, then we finally got on the metro but one was comming right then so ellie and i decided to sneek in behind the others who already had tickets, we would get tickets at the next stop. (you can get a 39 euro fine, 50$ if you dont have a ticket) so we were on our way just hanging out on the metro when all of a sudden the driver slammed on the breaks and we stopped faster than i thought the metro could stop. Ellie flew into some old people and screamed, we had a good laugh. then we sat there for a while (making us even later). i guess someone "vandalized" something at the next stop. finally we got to the stop where we were going to change metro lines and guess who was there!!!! Yes, the people who make sure you have your tickets, ellie and i had an inner freekout and then calmly turned around and walked back to the line we had just gotten off (you had to walk by the people to get to the other line). so we went to the next stop to buy tickets, but first ellie wanted to go see the lights in that area, pretty but took another 15-30 mins. then we got back on the metro, bought tickets and promptly went to the wrong metro stop, we had to wait 10 mins for the next one. we finally made it back to the others, only a few hours behind schedule, my american ways must be rubbing off on my Sagitaire (residence) friends. (i guess we have some pretty dang loyal friends, haha) eventful night.

we also went out the next night to see another part of town on the real "fete des lumieres."

for the last two weeks i had also been madly reading a french 700 pg book so i could write 8-10 pgs. Ellie and I hung out just doing homework all day. my laptop cord broke just when i was almost done with the book, all my notes were on it. bad deal, i'm still not done with the paper.

me and 3 scottish friends sang in our chior at the christmas market.

for our last day of fencing we got to hook up to the electric scoring system, that was pretty cool, we wore jackets with metal woven into them and everything.

the week b4 xmas break i studyed for and took a written test over slavery in rome and greece. at first i thought the teacher said i would get to do a homework assignment but the word "devoir" that translates to homework in english doesn't necessarily mean you get to do the work at home! I had to do it at the same time as the others during the regular test time. i also thought that i was going to get a different "easier" test, she had said that she would only be testing me on if i understood. Well i had to take the exact same test as the other students, but i was prepaired. we had 2 hours to write 6 short essays. i did well on 4 of them it was the info i had studied, the fifth was on slavery and christianity so i wrote every thing i knew about what the apostle Paul had said about slavery and onesimus ect. i think it worked out pretty well. the last one asked about some roman emperior and what he did with slavery, i had no clue but i just wrote that he made lots of nice laws for the slaves etc. passing is the most important thing to do here for me cuz my grades dont transfer. i was actually pretty happy with the test, for one of the few times i felt very ready for it and glad with how i did. thanks to the class notes i "harvested" off another student at the last minute and to like most french exams it was just alot of regergitating information than actually applying it and analyzing it like in the states. that makes it quite harder, but maybe less bennificial. but then in my UM history major i dont learn a ton of informati0n, just get better at writing and anaylizing and honestly bsing.

after the test i got ready to visit Alice and her family heres some pics of her her parents (german mom, french dad) and a german cousin sarah who is studying in paris.

They picked me up at the train station, alice and i watched some movies of when she was in montana and then we decorated the tree. we spent the next few days just relaxing watching movies, playing music, just hanging out. we did presents the 24th, i didnt get to go to a real catholic midnight christmas mass though.

story: i had a non american experience with the bath tub at alices. it wasn't a bad experience at all it was just different. (americans make too many wrong/right, good/bad judgments about these kinds of things, but then again that's our culture, its just different than others...) I was totally up for the experience, probably thinking about a real french cultural memory than anything. they didnt have a shower, just a bath tub with a shower cord thing. you had to wet up, turn the water off, soap up, turn the water back on then rince, repeat. i enjoyed it, though it was dark (i couldnt get the light to work, thought it was just another european energy conservation thing, turns out the light switch was out side, yea i made it more "barbaric" than it had to be. hahaha). They didnt want me to show the video of their house on their blog, i guess that was kind of an intrusion of privacy type deal. But i'm cool with that, i guess i hadn't ever thought of it. i was just excited to see a french house. I really enjoyed my time their, alices dad, a french teacher, even did a grammer lesson with me. we watched movies in english, french, german. (indiana jones is interesting in german.) i also learned a bit of german such as unkontrollierentes Pubsen/Furzen (said: uncontroll i ert es poop sen/ foort zen......... think about it alittle................ yes uncontrollable farting!!! it was the funniest thing ever to hear in german it litterally sounded like uncontrolable pooping or farting, there were two ways of sayign it)

Lastly when i got back i moved in with my new family the Rabenarivo's!!! I met them in my lutheran church here. They are from madagascar originally but have been in france for like 20 years since they studied in lyon. we have also had lots of their cousins here too. we've been having alot of fun, last night we went to a Malgash (Madagascarian is incorect i guess) New Years party and today they thought me their traditonal congo line type dance. Anyone know how to put videos on blogs? i will get some videos up soon if i find out.

This pic is me making grandma's dumplings for dinner, they were facinated at how you put the little "dumps" of dough into boiling water with spoons.

God bless you all in the New Year!!!! And I will miss you Sagi!!!! Clay (or Cligh as they say in my new home)

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