William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson
nova_one

2. Meetings and Dinings and Watchings and Testings

Late Sunday Night

I went to see the movie at the Château – it turned out to be Little Miss Sunshine. I thought it was pretty good. It is Yet Another Road Trip Movie™, but it’s done very well, and the performances are true to a capital T. The presence of Steve Carell at first takes you aback: “Hey, that’s Steve Carell!” but you quickly get used to it. It’s truly an ensemble performance.

The crowd at the Château for the movie was very young – although this could be one of those tropes along the lines of “They get younger every year!” (… as we get older). I jest that it consisted of people young and impressionable enough not to realize they could skip the movie.

That being said, this was also a night of $9 pitchers. I didn’t stay for that, but I hear it got busier after the movie was over, much for that reason.

Did I mention that the entrance tests are (for many, early) tomorrow morning? I wonder if there will be more Beginner-1s than usual! ;-p

We had the hockey game on in the common area. It was nice to see the Canucks win. This is our last night for a long time that we can chit-chat in English, and we’re definitely taking it for all it’s worth. For my part, I have to gratefully acknowledge yet decline many offers to imbibe in various libations. We’ve got a long, long way to go and I for one must pace myself accordingly.

It seems that a great many of us here in Beaulieu are either teachers or prospective teachers. I feel left out! I mean, sure, I taught English and other subjects in the medium of English at a private grade school in Japan for a year, but I still don’t have any official credentials. It’s almost insufferable for me to hear them speak to each other about the profession – the fact that I was rejected when I applied for Education is still a sore point with me. (They’re also all my age and because of their professional training, they have much better employment prospects than I do, and I still live upstairs in my mother and stepfather’s house.) I brought my feelings up quietly to one of the others who isn’t a teacher, and she told me that she figures either I wasn’t ready for the program or that I wasn’t persistent enough to succeed. Letting myself actually think objectively about it, I think both are true.

I have a similar wrongheaded dislike for journalists because of my rejection from journalism school. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that one. Maybe I will, provided I do this program again and end up in a residence with a bunch of journalists or prospective journalists. :-) No, in all seriousness, the same reasoning applies. It even extends to librarians, just because I only considered doing the MLIS (I didn’t even get as far as applying) but decided not to because of the expense – perhaps that’s just as well because now I’m hearing at least one librarian complaining that he wishes he’d done a computer science degree to prepare him for the technical challenges he faces daily.

I feel… pathetic.

Let’s move on to the short-term.

When I first came here in Spring 2007, I was really going out of my way to speak a little bit of French even before the program began. This time I’m obstinately sticking to English and letting others sprinkle in the French now and again. Part of it is that I really want to get my licks in. There might be another, more sinister, part to it. It might also come down to already having had the experience – I think my dorm neighbour from last year was of similar mind then (it was his second time) to where I am (now that it’s my second time).

I also feel more sensitive than I was last time. I’ve been through a lot of experiences, good and bad, in the past four years. I’m not really the same person that I was then, though what I am is built upon that foundation. (Where’s Permacrete when you need them?) I feel like I can infer what’s driving people, and I don’t like what I infer. It’s one thing if they brag or show off, but I think a few folks are downright arrogant. Then again, maybe it takes an arrogant big mouth to know one!

Furthering the mortification, I tried (and failed) to say “I love Poland!” in Polish to one of my dormmates who happens to be from a Polish family, and he dismissed my attempt as “That’s way off!” Ouch! ;-p Anyway, at least my pronunciation of kocham has been improved.

I’ve got to stop worrying. Somehow, we’ll get along. We’ll make this work.

Monday Morning

Having slept on things, I feel much better. Also, by being warm and friendly to people, they tend to reciprocate. I think last night I was excessively paranoid.

Breakfast commenced earlier than usual this morning because of the early tests (for most), but the cafeteria staff were kind and kept it open for people pretty well to the normal time and beyond. I’ve got my first test at 10:00am, and after eating I lingered for a long while, chatting with various people as they came in and out while enjoying a few cups of coffee. I don’t want to have to do Beginner-1 again just because I’m under-caffeinated! Speaking of which, Jono from my level and workshop group in 2007 was there! He’s been coming here each year since then! There are also folks who were in later levels back in 2007 who are now working here. Sure, I got to go to Japan for a year, try my hand at astrophysics, and, most lately, thank people for calling Eastlink, but I kind of envy them just the same.

I’m so excited that I’ll get to choose a workshop tonight, but it’ll also be a hard choice because now I know that there is also a theatre workshop. I love acting every bit as much as singing. Perhaps I should go into the theatre workshop and hope for a musical? ;-p Probably not. If I am having trouble deciding, perhaps I should just go where the girls that I like most* are going. You are very lucky to be getting these profound thoughts for free, and in English!

Monday Noon

I had so much fun writing the written pre-test. They finally changed the narrative on the story portion – much to the complaints of some, but much to my delight as I felt that I had used up my creative ingenuity on the post-test** last time. One writes a story to go with the illustrations provided. It’s quite free-form and there is a lot of room for creativity – if you want to show off on the test, that’s the place to do it. (Not that I have a great screaming deal to show off, but I love to do it just the same.) I had a blast with it, even though I couldn’t say all that I wanted to, and I sometimes had to circumexscribe a bit, which is awkward virtually by definition.

On the other hand, perhaps I could have done with more sleep. I used the word “monnaie” (currency) where I should have used “argent” (money). Those false friends will get you every time!

Monday Afternoon

My tests are completed and the waiting game begins. I was talking to a bunch of people about how they felt they did and a few of them feel similar to the way I did when I came last time. I mean, I came in thinking, “Well I can conjugate être and avoir in the present tense, so that ought to be good enough for Beginner-2.” Ha-ha. I mean, I might have been very close, as I’ve said repeatedly, but I’m very glad I was placed in Beginner-1. I got to talk a lot. Jono even said to some other folks at the cafeteria – and I was most flattered – “This guy was a motormouth! He just wouldn’t stop talking in French!” ;-p

Last time, I remember finding many of the Beginners-2 downright taciturn. I think the reason is in part that the other workshops do not stress the basics of interacting like Conversation (the mandatory Beginner-1 workshop) does. If you have, say, Grade 12 Core French, and you test well, you could find yourself in Beginner-2 and in a workshop that’s not necessarily geared to help French beginners, and you might actually be at a slight-to-moderate disadvantage, since you may never have spoken French outside of the classroom before.

My right wrist is still bothering me. If it doesn’t improve noticeably by the end of the week, I will go to the clinic. I think I can explain the issue in English there, though I’m far less confident that there’s anything they can meaningfully do or suggest.

______________
* - Toutes les femmes quelle j’adore ont sourcils hardi. Ce n’est pas que j’ai supposé.
** - This test is at least partly for the purpose of verifying that government money is being well spent.
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