Hiking, Christmas party, and a short Bellegarde musical history

13 December 2011 § Leave a comment

13 décembre 2011

Salut, mes chers amis.  The general atmosphere right now is much Christmas merriment with a dash of finals week chaos.

Maggie, Stefanie, and me at the Christmas party

Stress displeases me, so I try not to procrastinate; thus, I feel little of the chaos and am mostly sorting out ideas in my oceanic mind (that just means that it’s organised in a manner quite logical, though perhaps only to me).  Something funny did happen on Sunday evening.  I was working on my paper about Les Liaisons dangereuses . . .

Me:  The paper is due Wednesday, right?

Maggie:  Um, no.  It is due tomorrow.

That was around ten o’clock.  I was lucky to have written a good bit of it and, more importantly, to have mostly worked out in my head the specific trajectory of the paper.  Insomnia and having to get extra work done go well together, so the marginal addition of pain was small.  I did have a flashback to when I missed one of my examinations in the spring.  When I realised what I had done, I listened to a certain song.

On Saturday, Heather, Courtney, and I took the navette to La Ciotat and hiked along the sea from there to Cassis.  We also wanted to hike on an island off the coast near La Ciotat, but then we discovered that the ferry does not run in the winter.  Heather had done some research and found a trail, but the blazes were a bit random at times, and it involved a bit of trespassing and many brambles and climbing all over the calanques, which are rocky cliffs along the coast.  I loved it.  When three introverts are together, there are often thirty-minute (or more) stretches of silence.  And often one cannot express what one feels when one looks down the calanques or out over the water.

An old photo from our boat trip - but this is where we hiked

On Sunday night, we had our fête de Noël at the centre with the thirteen desserts of Provence, which include dried figs, almonds, calissons, nougat, dried apricots, walnuts, clementines . . . delicious.

I still haven't figured out how to upload photos from my father's camera

All of our dinner families came, and it was fun to observe my friends with their families.  Unfortunately, the antisocial feelings were stronger than usual, so I spent most of the party flitting from group to group with the general aim of escaping.

Luke is Père Noël

Three of four times, I slipped into the kitchen, where there were only a few people.  It was quite beautiful, though, in the downstairs part of the centre where a few students live.

Christmas tree and cadeaux!

There is a big room with a Christmas tree, and presents were even distributed.

Fearless director

Our professors were also there, and I was quite happy to see Madame Gailliègue, our art and literature professor.  She is my favourite.  She knows so much about art and sparked intriguing discussions when we were reading L’Œuvre and is a painter.  Her work was even exhibited in the Palais des Papes in Avignon.  And she speaks with warmth and enthusiasm and even danced to the flash mob song one evening (keep reading).

Last week, I decided to organise a secret Santa thing.  It’s one of my favourite parts of resisting the selfish finals anxiety that afflicts everyone.  Last night, we had the secret Santa party, which was enjoyable, even though I had a few pangs of sadness when I realised that I won’t see most of these people for a long time, if at all, ever again.

Maggie and Luke are cohorts

And now for more music.  First, Yelle appeared to entertain us.  The jump at 2.40 is great.  Then, we received a message with some more entertainment.  Our participation in a flash mob was “obligatoire”, which made me laugh.  You MUST take part in this flash mob.  We danced on the cours Mirabeau and then became famous.

We end up playing Christmas music everyday, often while we are baking, and many versions of the best Christmas song surface frequently.  Of course, Kate always keeps me company.  She even sings about sheep.

Sara introduced me to William Fitzsimmons.  He has kept me company (articulated my oceanic thoughts?) lately, so much so that addiction is swiftly approaching and might cause extreme melancholy time during Christmas break.  Perfect timing . . .

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