There are two assertions which I have made in former posts that I hereby wish to amend. The first is in regards to “zebra crossing”. Indeed, zebra crossing exists. My English prof hunted me down and informed me. It does give me a sense of glee to know that all my English teachers are reading my blog. Zebra crossing. It’s one of those aggro British things. British brains work anti-clockwise. It’s not blooming likely that we North Americans will be anything but gormless about the expressions they’re so chuffed about. If only I would chivvy along and clear off with this codswallop. Before it goes all pear-shaped, I’ll put a sock in it and bid you duffers cheerio!
The second of my amendments is in regards to the number of pianos in my school. I’ve been informed that we actually have 4 pianos. 3 baby grands. 1 upright. This is the type of thing which a school in Europe can afford, because in general, the students are WAY more respectful of public property. I think I’ve seen garbage on the ground once since I’ve been here. Only once.
My English class is a steady source of amusement for me. I think it’s because they have no idea how hilarious they are. I-tries buildings are different than high-rise buildings. Today I was asked to rate the pronunciation of the class clown. I gave him a (generous) 4 out of 10, which he was happy with. Then someone said something else, and the class laughed. Whether or not it was in English or French I have no idea. I didn’t get it. My prof asks me, “Did you understand that? He thinks he is seducing you.”
Okay then. “I don’t think it’s working.”
“Maybe he has a chance as long as he doesn’t say anything.”
Oh gosh. Good times.
There’s a difference in French which hangs me up sometimes. “Vous” versus “Tu”. Vous is plural, or formal. Tu is singular, and familiar. You use vous when you talk to your profs, or other people you need to respect. I need to remember this. I REALLY need to not violate this, even though they grant me a lot of grace. My gym prof said to me “Alor, Bon Weekend!” today, and I replied, “Merci, et toi aussi!”
NO NO NO NO NEVER! EVER! That’s a terrible social faux pas.
Fortunately, I can apologize like no one’s business. It’s almost habitual for me. “Je suis trés désolée! Je veux toujours d’être polie, mais je fais plusiers des erreurs. Désolée!”
One of my professors here, on a sunny day, will close the blinds and turn on the artificial lighting. I wonder what he’s thinking.
There’s so many little things which are different. Do you realise I haven’t seen a single kleenex box since I’ve been here? It’s strange. Everyone has their own little 10 pack. What’s even more strange is how people will blow their noses in class. I mean, that’s okay and all, except that Swiss nose-blows are just so LOUD! Industrial-sized. Astronomical. Ground-shaking. I-WILL-MAKE-YOU-BELIEVE-IN-THOR-loud. They have no inhibition. In Canada we’re much quieter. I mean, who wants to be that person making that awful noise? It’s gross. Who wants to hear someone emptying their cranial content into an ill-fated tissue? They think nothing of it. The prof might have to repeat a sentence. No big deal.
One of the things I appreciate about Swiss French is the efficiency when talking numbers. Instead of the traditional french when you say four-twenties-ten-eight instead of ninety-eight, you get to say the literal equivalent of ninety-eight. Nonante huit. *wipes perspiration off forehead* that’s easier than quatre-vingts-dix-huit. It just makes so much sense to continue the pattern of cinquante, soixante, to septante, huitante, nonante, cent.
Also, military time isn’t a nightmare here. They do use expressions like at 13 o clock, but not too often. They’re normal. They say 1 in the afternoon. I’m beginning to think that Québécois complicates the simplicity of French.
Par Exemple, I haven’t heard ANYONE say “fin du semaine” here. They use a surprising, shocking, novel word:
There’s also guimauve. Why say guimauve when you obviously know it’s a marshmallow?
Why use courriel in place of email?
They even say lol here. They say it in conversation, having no idea where it’s derived from. It’s so comic, because they don’t say lol in the traditional sense, as in rhyming with soul (Yes, I just referred to lol as ‘traditional’. The irony strikes me, delayed by a few sentences). They say it more like lul. It’s so funny.
To those of you who disdain smart cars, you should know that they’re not that common in my town. It varies locally. Here they refer to them as suppositories. I found that so funny. There’s fewer intersections here. Those are replaced by the roundabouts, which are SO smart! It’s genius! Why have a stoplight when you can keep driving?
It’s also different how all the cars yield to the pedestrians. Only in certain places is there a crosswalk where you press a button and wait. Otherwise, if you see the yellow stripes (zebra crossing… mdr) you just start walking. This is Europe. I think being a driver here would have its fair share of headaches.
When I wake up in the middle of the night, why are you still chewing on words and spitting them at me? You’re allowed to get some sleep too, you know?
You’re allowed to come down off your beta waves in the night and be normal like other brains, who sleep in theta and delta waves. It’s alright with me in the daytime if you want to rocket out to the outer limits of the gammasphere, as long as you settle down at night.
Either comply, or no more dictionary for you.