Lastly, I will conclude my three-entry extravaganza with an account of my past week. Although it wasn’t incredibly eventful, I got my hair cut at a hipster coffer (“Carte Blanche Coiffeur”) and applied to the art school next semester in order to spice up my time spent in France.
I had often noticed this unusual shop en route to Place Stanislas that was situated in the old town of Nancy. Carte Blanche’s large floor-to-ceiling window displays a set of punk-hair stylists two chairs, two toilets, and no mirrors. It looked like a great place to get my hair cut! I went in and asked for a haircut the next day at 10:45 in the morning. I was so nervous when I arrived to get my haircut the next day since it was in the morning and speaking French in the morning is truly the worst for me! (I only function well at dinnertime usually, but only when I have spoken French significantly during the day). The guy who washed my hair after taking my jacket had a giant pink mohawk. He sat me down in the chair near the front, where I saw the toilets (not functioning, thank god) filled with hair brushes and scissors. After waiting a while as the other clients finished their appointments, got to get a feel for the place as other clients came in to prepare themselves for their hair-cutting experience. The next available guy shook my hand, and asked me if it was my first time at the place. My response with my thick French accent (I remind you, it was the morning) marked me as a foreigner who probably barely understood what he was saying. He walked a 360 around my chair while messing with my hair, and then asked, “C’est parti (Shall we begin)?” as he turned on the buzzing electric clippers. Frightened that I would leave the place with another rainbow-colored mohawk, I quickly explained that I would rather he use the manual scissors to cut my hair. I wanted the sides shorter than the top and I was trying to get rid of the curls on the sides without messing with the length of the hair on the top.
“You speak French well,” he added as he began. I think he was a little sad he didn’t get to haze me or something. Nevertheless, I believe my haircut is one of the best I’ve ever received and well worth the 20-euro student pricing! Caitlyn even mentioned today this today during out weekly meeting with the program director (not that I am always looking for Caitlyn’s approval, but she usually knows what she’s talking about). Of course, I don’t have many pictures yet to give an idea of how it looks, but stay tuned!
Since I am a little disappointed with the school system here and the lack of school stimulation, I have been working to expand my horizons in art (something I have always wanted to do and never had the chance, which I regret). Danielle, a girl in my group here, applied last spring to ENSA (École Nationale Supérieure d’Art), the art school in SW Nancy and got in as a part-time student with little experience in university art classes. I have none whatsoever. But I have been lead to believe that I can get in regardless just to receive some direction in my drawings. I sent in my portfolio of mediocre art I’ve been doing here and the woman, although she commented on my “weak” level, seemed optimistic. “I really just need some direction,” I assured, “and then I am sure I’ll improve quickly.” The semester starts in February and I’ll most likely be taking two art courses in drawing and one philosophy course. I am excited! I included a photo of a classroom in the school that is just perfect, I think.
On the first Wednesday of the month around 11 am and again at 11:30, there is a siren that goes off throughout the city that resembles the sound of the sirens during WWII. I finally figured out that this is normal throughout France (and Europe, I assume) and that all the citizens here are extremely used to it. It is as if the war never ended and there are still air raids flying over the German border into Lorraine. This is an aspect of the post-war society that still endures and now serves to warn the city in case of a large fire or dangerous event (most-likely a natural disaster, let’s hope).
Lastly, for the elections last week, I just wanted to touch on an amazing party I went to Tuesday night at the Political Sciences school with my speaking tandem partner, Antoine. He invited me to an all-night event from 9 pm – 6 am in celebration of the US elections! The whole room was filled with red, white, and blue as many girls sported American flag tights and some guys wore American flags on their shirts. The evening featured public speakers, student presentations, a band playing the American national anthem (three times at different speeds), an american buffet (complete with cookies, brownies, hamburgers, and muffins), as well as the election results on a projected TV screen!
This even was seriously impressive and quite moving. I think Americans should be more motivated to learn about the election results of other countries. In case you need to know, France’s president is François Hollande (relatively socialist) and was elected last May against Nicolas Sarkozy (who was up for reelection, which can only happen once for a French president, just like the US). The French president is elected every five years, so next time, it will be in 2017 (for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_presidential_election,_2012 ).
I have included a couple photos! Tomorrow, I leave for a Biodynamic Viticulture Conference in Colmar, Alsace with my professor from LC in Oregon. This has long been in the works and I have received a grant to defer the costs of transportation as well as the steep costs of the conference itself. I’ll even be visiting the Swiss countryside near Basel. For more information on what I’ll be doing, visit the links below (they are trilingual, much like the conference will be!)