…of Abbey Road St-Laurent-du-Var 2019 with more French classes and time to explore more of Nice and St-Laurent. On Monday, we worked on conjugating verbs in the conditional future tense. At first, it seems absolutely ridiculous that there are so many different verb tenses, but then you realize that we use just as many odd tenses in English. For example, you don’t realize how difficult it is to learn to say something like “If I had done this, I might have wanted to do this”. Everything is relative, right?
We took the train to Nice for our electives. The French Culture and Conversation group went to the Chagall museum to explore, and the Photography and Drawing groups hung out at the Monoprix before heading to the gardens near the Matisse museum to start their class. There, the photography group worked on taking portraits in different lighting and the drawing group sketched buildings.
That night we spent an hour or two at the beach, swimming, talking, and taking pictures of the sunset. As is typical of us by now, we decided to go buy gelato and Orangina with ten minutes to spare before we had to leave, and ended up sprinting back to the meet-up point. This time, however, we had even less time because our usual Orangina place was closed. ‘Twas a truly stressful experience.
The next morning in class we worked on using l’imparfait (the imperfect) past tense to express actions that have happened and are still happening or have no decided end. After class, we ate a quick lunch and then explored the city in our free time. Usually when we have free time we head to the supermarket or a café to stock up on snacks or buy a coffee.
We each chose to either visit a retirement home or take a class with a hairstylist. At the retirement home, students conversed in French with the residents and learned about their long lives and interesting experiences. The group that went with the hairstylist learned to wash, straighten, curl, and cut hair as well as paint each others’ nails. One student even got a free haircut after we straightened his hair and the hairdresser asked in a horrified tone, “who cut your hair?”
When we returned from our electives a few students chose to do an hour of yoga in the park with the St-Laurent-du-Var program director, Kim. We quickly discovered the impact all this walking we’ve been doing has had on our legs. (read: It’s pretty much impossible for me to touch my toes at this point)
On Wednesday after class, we sat in the park for a long lunch before heading to a youth center the beach to swim and hang out with French teenagers. We quickly discovered that the center had a bunch of blue foam thingies for floating on the water and promptly used them to lay in the sun for far too long and get very sunburnt.
When my roommate and I got home afterward we almost immediately headed to the Cagnes-sur-Mer Hippodrome with our host mom to watch horse races. There we got ice cream and cheered for our favorite horses alongside our host mom’s friends.
The next day in class our teacher gave us a list of questions about the geography and culture of France to ask locals out and about around St-Laurent. One example was, “How many countries border France?” and another was, “What is the population of France?”. My partner and I had a few great conversations and then were rejected by the server at the boulangerie when we asked if we could ask her a few questions.
We got eight new students, six of which will be staying with two new host families and two of whom have joined my roommate and I, in our house. We went to the mall with them for an hour before heading home to eat dinner. Afterward, we spent a few hours singing until we lost our voices doing karaoke. We sang everything from sixties-ish French music to Sound of Music.
For some of us this marks the halfway point for their stay here, but many of us are leaving in five days. While it’s sad, that just means that we need to do everything we can to savor the time we have left in France.