Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Another Weekend Recap (Hopefully Not Boring)

I wanted to find some scientific journal articles, so I headed to a university in Toulouse on Saturday to check their library. I caught a bus that dropped me somewhere among a bunch of student housing. I had no idea where a library might be located, or even where I was located, so I just wandered around for a while. There was a whole heck of a lot of student housing! It took me forever to find a building that wasn’t student housing. Goodness sakes, where do the classes take place? The whole place looked deserted, which made it harder to figure out where a library might be. I eventually found one and spent a little while in there looking for scientific journals, but it turned out the bulk of them were located in another library about a mile away in the medical part of the university. This part looked deserted, too, but I trudged up a huge flight of stairs to get to the library, assuming that, like the other one, this library only looked deserted. The flight of stairs was reminiscent of the stairs from Montlake Boulevard to the HUB at UW, but not quite as tall. Anyway, I got to the top only to find the library was indeed deserted, as it’s closed on weekends. How are students supposed to study all weekend long if the library’s closed? So my morning was sort of wasted, though I did see a new part of Toulouse. I passed some genetics laboratories on the way back, and it made me really excited about coming home and getting back into a lab. It also made me wish I’d had more guts back in September to come and beg someone to let me volunteer in their lab a couple days a week. Alas.
In the afternoon, I took my bike to our neighbor village, where Jody used to live. I love the road that connects our towns! One part of it runs through a wooded area, so there’s a green canopy overhead. Then it opens out into a big field with an old farmhouse. There were rolls of hay forming a line across the field. So beautiful! Anyway, I went to the town because they were hosting a festival against violence. There were a bunch of booths from different social organizations. There were two women playing really pretty songs on steel drums, so I watched them for a while, but there was this little boy who was screaming at his mother and hitting her. She ignored him for a while (even though he was disturbing everyone from hearing the music), then she totally started yelling at him. Hello, non-violence?

In the evening, Sarah and I went to small concert, with two acts. The first was a trio that played Spanish guitar music (which I love but it was lulling me to sleep) and the second was a “jazz fusion” group. It was a group of young adults playing really fun, unconventional songs with jazz instruments. They were all dressed up in old-fashioned clothes and costumes and would dance around and interact with each other while playing. It was really entertaining and woke me up after the soothing Spanish music.

Afterwards, Sarah and I went back to the gay nightclub with a big group of people. We talked and danced, then sat out on their fake beach (!) as the sun came up. I was mildly bored, but at the same time, happy to finally be in a discotheque in France. And there was sand and beach chairs!

On Sunday, I went sailing (I sail!) with Aphrodite, who screamed at me the whole time. It was alright, though, because I was screaming right back at her. We were on a little lake and there was almost no wind, so my inability to sail wasn’t too much of a problem.

Today is a holiday here in France (lazy, lazy, lazy), but it’s a really funny holiday. You see, it’s the Pentecost, which has traditionally been a jour ferié. But a couple years ago, somebody decided that it was a dumb holiday and that everyone should have to work. In addition, they decided that everyone should have to work for free, and the money they would have earned for the day will be donated by their employer to…I don’t remember…old people or something. So it’s like social security, in a way. Not really. Anyhoo, not many people were pleased with this, but for the big companies like Airbus or the train company SNCF, they don’t have a choice. So half of France had the day off, and the other half (poor suckers) had to work. For free. The SNCF people were pissed about it, though, so they struck a bargain: they would work one extra minute for free, each day of the year in order to be able to have today off. Goofballs. An extra minute? Seriously, people? The library I was trying to go to had a sign in the window saying they would be closed today. Their solution for being forced to work for free? The typical French solution: la grève.

Anyway, the kids didn’t have school, and I didn’t have French class, so Sarah and her little charge (5-year-old English boy) came over to play and swim. They came over once before, and Narcissus loved it. He didn’t want them to leave and kept going on about Sarah’s charge (let’s call him Joe). Today, Narcissus kept following Joe around. It was so sweet! But I’m not sure that Joe feels the same about Narcissus. I think he only likes Narcissus for his swimming pool and toys. Joe’s mother is a pacifist and doesn’t let him play any violent games, whereas Narcissus pretty much only plays violent games. He loves running around the house with a kitchen utensil as une arme, chasing invisible bad guys. [Sarah was saying “baddies” the other day instead of “bad guys” and I think that’s so cute! Baddies. How British!]

jour ferié: bank holiday, day off
la grève: strike
une arme: weapon


  1. Hello!

    I come to your space by way of Gracia's. I just read your current entry and liked it.

    I love that you are taking in this experience. And I love that you are documenting it. I would love to see all the views that you encounter in your travels. Photography is my passion. And there is no better photo op than foreign travel.

    I will be back to keep up with what you are doing. This is a very good read. Thank you


  2. You're so brave to go out scouting like that in a foreign country! I have trouble doing Manhattan on my own....
    Now the gay bar, that's my kinda fun...hhehehe...I have a gay friend, ryan, and we had so much fun gayclub hopping when we were in cape town together....
    cool memories!
    BTW, have you heard? MSN is doing a restructure of Spaces...something to do with the URL, amongst other things. Instead of the space name being at the end of the URL, it will be infront. Much like Blogger.com.

  3. Well, I never eat anything but yogurt and cereal, Allen is gone for 6 weeks and the poor boy has to eat SOMETHING. I did not buy the magazine, it's too expensive. I make him buy those himself. And I DID ask... lol. He was very precise. I bought a few other things for myself but mainly, that was the grocery list!

    Pretty sad huh?


  4. Thank you. I wish I could channel some of the enthusiasm from my blog buddies into my husband. He thinks he is being supportive by saying, "Isn't it great that I have a steady job so that you can just hop around and do what ever you want?"

    Oh yeah. That's supportive.

    Or: Do what you want babe.


    He honestly does not see how I am feeling unsure of his support here.

    I gave up. He supports me. I got it. He is such an army man sometimes!

    Thanks for the cheers I needed it!!!


  5. If I could but chew.......

    My braces have my teeth in such a position that my back teeth do not touch right now. So anything that requires the slightest bit of chewage is out for me.

    I cannot wait to eat a steak.

    This will continue for several more months yet. I tried to eat a salad this weekend and nearly choked to death.

    le sigh. Back to yogurt and cereal. And the occasional icecream. I am sick of soup and eggs.