Monday, May 31, 2010

C'est la France

So I finally finished all of my exams on Wednesday! Part of me feels so relieved to be finished and the other part of me won’t rest until I know that I’ve passed all of my exams. I wouldn’t be so worried about it except that I’m going to be in Paris when we are supposed to have rattrapages so if I need to do retakes I have to know in advance. I swear French universities are the most confusing things because they sent us an e-mail saying that we won’t know our grades until June 20th but rattrapages begins the 14th! How does that make any sense? Oh wait, it doesn’t. But that’s France for you. Just when you think you’ve gotten used to all of the weird things they do here that don’t make any sense, they throw you another curveball to keep you on your toes (or maybe a soccer term would be more appropriate here). Half of me is so furious with the incompetency of the system here and half of me is laughing and thinking “c’est la France.”

I’m only really nervous about one exam, Analyse Politique de la France. The professor always seemed kind of strict but I thought she would be nice during the exam because over half of her class is international students. Apparently not. She gave me the topic: Qu’est-ce qu’un parti politique? And as much as I wanted to respond “it’s a party where you drink beer with politicians” I didn’t, and came up with a good answer using all of the definitions that we’d learned, the difference between representation and representivity, the 4 stages of development of a political party, etc. I thought I did pretty well until she started asking me about le Parti Socialiste. She asked me to apply all the theories I had just talked about to the Socialist Party which would have been a totally valid question except that we had only talked about one thing for the Socialist Party. I mentioned this one thing and then she just stared at me blankly, not smiling and asking me many questions I didn’t know the answer to. Merde. So now, I have absolutely no idea as to whether I did well or not. I feel like I presented my topic well but that is also just being able to regurgitate facts. If she failed me, I couldn’t entirely blame her because I didn’t really apply what I’d learned but at the same time, she didn’t teach us anything that would answer those questions! Ma foi!

In other news, there was an IEP Gala on Thursday night to celebrate the end of the semester. Everyone got really dressed up in cocktail dresses and suits. They bused us out to this convention center in the middle of nowhere (which actually looked more like a summer camp) and there were cocktails and then a big ceremony where they presented mock awards. I still find it so strange that they’re allowed to serve cocktails at school functions but I guess “C’est la France!” The awards were really funny even though I didn’t understand all of the jokes and the ceremony made me feel really nostalgic about my time at Sciences Po and wishing that I’d gotten to know more French kids.

After the awards were finished they bused us to this night club called Fabrick. We danced all night long and I was having so much fun that I didn’t even notice how late it was getting.

As I was walking home at 5:30am and hearing the birds chirping I started to really miss France. This was kind of a strange feeling because I’m still in Aix for another week and I’ll still be living in France for the next 2 months. But for the first time I just kept thinking “I don’t want to leave this place.” Maybe it was because I was a bit drunk or maybe it was because of the really attractive kids I go to school with, but either way I just felt like crying at the thought of leaving this place. It’s funny because everyone asks me whether I prefer France or the United States. It’s kind of an impossible question if you ask me because the US is my home, where all of my friends and family are and it would be so hard to leave all of that behind. But at the same time, France, just like India, will always hold a special place in my heart. I know it sounds corny but it’s true. I’ve had so many incredible moments here and so many life changing experiences. France is now a part of me and will be for the rest of my life. I love the people and the landscape and of course the food and the strange habits. I’m sure once August comes I’ll start feeling really sentimental about the motherland but for now La France me manque . . . .

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