Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Boring is good

Yes, nothing of any true import has happened to me. I think this is a good thing. I'd rather not be having a ton of problems. While they can be interesting, they are not necessarily fun to deal with and believe me, I've had my share of "fun" in Paris. Like the time I left my entire money belt (passport, traveler's checks, all my money, plane tickets) on my hotel bed, or that time the front desk guy locked me into the hotel and wouldn't let me leave. Ah, good times. Like I said, Paris has been a place of pretty severe problems for me (of course, the first one was totally my fault).

On Monday, I went to the Richelieu branch to check in rather than to Tolbiac/Francois-Mitterand. I wimped out. I chose the smaller, less imposing building. Basically, I found the "Service d'Orientation des Lecteurs" after the front guard sent me to Manuscrits Orientaux. Ummm, I know that what I said sounded nothing like Orientaux. There was a big truck driving by and I think he just heard the first two-three syllables. Walked in and didn't see anyone so I walked to the back. A lady told me to go back and talk to someone else and then I'd speak with her. (This is actually what I understood. My French really went down the tubes over the last 2 years--quelle surprise!-and I'm only understanding about 1/3 of the words people say to me. At least I usually understand the most important words. But, even when I do understand, I question myself so much I go back to ask and make sure I really understood correctly. I think when I left 2 years ago, I was understanding about 75-80%.) Went and wandered around some more and finally the entretien lady was at her desk. I sat down gave her my pre-inscription, which I'm so glad I did because it made this process a piece of cake, also handed over my attestation from Stefanie, my passport, and my carte d'étudiante. Went to the other lady to go get my picture taken, et voila! I have my card.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I went back to Richelieu to the Music building because they have some Mercure Galant issues I want to look at. I wish I had a)brought my camera and b)they allowed pictures. That Mercure Galant! So, it was a pretty important journal that was on everything that was happening at court, in Paris, etc. and continued through the revolution and on as the Mercure de France. Anywho, they would actually include little pieces of music in foldout sections. Small madrigaux and the like. Very interesting, but not of direct import to my diss. Also, they have these hilarious debates on such things as "If a person loves an ugly person, but thinks they are beautiful, is the ugly person really beautiful?" I got some good stuff, some poems teasing Quinault and the like (not necessarily useful, but still funny) as well as mentions of 2 of the three operas. But, they only had certain months for each year I was looking at, so I'll just absolutely have to go to the music library at the Opéra. You know, housed in the actual opera building. Sigh, twist my arm or something.

After that little bit of fun, I went to another department at Richelieu--Estampes et Photographies. I'm looking for drawings/images of the set design/costumes for Act IV of Phaeton. Well, they have a book that is a complete reproduction of all Jean Berain's costumes etc. So I waited there for 45 minutes. And they came back and told me it wasn't there. It exists, and no one else had it, but it was not there. I think they just didn't want to tell me it was lost. By this point, I'd had no food in approximately 6 hours and I was getting pretty frustrated/sad/irritated. So, I had an okay day. Not bad, not great.

Today, off to Arsenal in the 4ème.

Katie's "Suggestion of the Day": I can read French fairly well, much to the confusion of everyone who hears me speak it. I suggest that everyone has an LED over their head which would scroll the text of what they were saying to me so I could understand everything and not seem like a complete idiot. While this would be cumbersome, I find this to be an excellent solution to my problem.

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