Bonjour et Bon Voyage!

Mes amis,

For the delay in blogging I can only offer feeble regret. I know, dear readers, that your morning, midday procrastination, and evening ritual are all seriously impaired by a lapse in SoleilSphere proliferation, and that you spend hours upon hours simply clicking the refresh button in hopes that a new post will be conjured out of mid-cyber-air. And this one will be short, because I’m about to catch a train in an hour or so and there are better things to do with my morning (read: devise new methods of clothing-shrinking to fit one week’s worth in a tiny bookbag) than blog blindly into the great unknown and unread.

We did have midterm juries last week, which means that we presented our models, drawings, and ideas in as clean and coherent a fashion as humanely possible to a variety of important judges. I am not kidding when I say it was a disaster—basically our teachers had heard that we could produce nothing short of architectural miracles (last semester, it should be said, this was very nearly the case) when pressure and expectations were applied, but I think the result of that high-stress studio in New York was that we’re all just completely burned out. And we live in Paris. And for many, this is just a study abroad semester in college. And lots of people just got into grad school or decided they don’t want to be architects or have realized that their work last semester is sufficient for 15 portfolios.

So while we all pulled a few late nights to cram in the extra drawing and abandoned beloved blogs and phone calls to home for a few days, it was still like presenting 30 projects in doodle and paper mache to Frank Gehry. But, 6 hours of tedious criticism later, we were free! Many people left the review early to get on a plane for the Canary Islands or a train to Budapest, or really anywhere but that room. Don’t you wish you still had a Spring Break? Reasons to go to grad school: + 1. There might have been some Sangria involved in the evening’s celebration for those of us that stuck around.

My brother John arrived in Paris (!!!) the next day and is probably going to get on his plane heading home in a few minutes. We ate like kings and spent all of Saturday napping (he’s been travelling for weeks and I’d been scrapping together a mini-kitchen project in my apartment into the wee hours of last week). We passed the Eiffel Tower and his old hostel from a few trips ago and called it sight-seeing. We considered going out to see La Defense but decided against it. We went to my landlord’s house to pay my rent to his wife who sat us down at their kitchen table in her pajamas with a baby on her hip and a cat who wouldn’t get out of my face (the first annoying cat I’ve ever known) and lectured us on how we should learn French. I convinced my dad to let me work for him this summer so that I don’t feel like a total waste of space in the world. That’s right: you heard it here. I’m going to spend summer at home in glorious Knoxville under the light of the radiant sunsphere. Those months are a vision of lake-days, Dollywood weekends, and Bonarroo. Come one, come all.

For now, however, the immediate future looks less bleak. In an hour, like I said, I’m getting on a train headed for St. Jean-de-Luz, a small coastal city in the Basque country down south, where I’m going to cross the border into Spain for a night or two and then catch a few trains east to Provence for the 2nd half of the week (Carcassone, Arles, Aix). I’ll spend a few days in Marseilles doing a mapping project at the end and return to Paris by Saturday evening. I’m bringing one small bag, a purse, a pair of jeans, jean shorts, a jean button down and a smattering of white tee shirts, my camera, an array of pencils/paper, and “Within the Budding Grove” (Part II of In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust – yes, I went there) and MYSELF. Don’t tell my grandmother I’m backpacking alone for a week, but otherwise I’ll try to be in touch with the world as much as possible. BBM your hearts out. I’ll be back.

Love and Frenchiness,

Frederique

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~ by soleilsphere on March 14, 2010.

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