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Not just a métro stop in Paris anymore!

I’ve been chosen as one of ten finalists in the Franco-American Vocal Academy’s Grand Concours de Chant. So I’ll be heading to Austin to sing on the stage at Bates Recital Hall at UT-Austin on March 2nd. Wheeee!

In other news, I’ve got an audition today, my first ever French tutoring session tomorrow after church, a new job starting next week, and a French novel in my purse.

I decided it was about time I got over whatever childish fear I had of reading in French, so when I was at the Harold Washington Library downtown on Thursday (writing resumes on a seriously tight deadline), I picked up La Maison de Claudine by Colette and L’Amante by Marguerite Duras, which I’ve always kind of meant to read in English, but couldn’t get past the first page of awkward translation. Plus it does feel a little like cheating to read French literature in English, when I can obviously read French with little to no difficulty.

I’m not having any trouble understanding the plot (such as it is) of the Colette thus far, but I’m not reading with a dictionary and there are tons of words I have never seen before. As you’d expect. Sometimes I feel like I really get French, and then I realize how much I don’t actually know, how much it would take to be truly fluent and never have to look up a word or ask somebody at your French meet-up how to say “frying pan” because for some reason you’ve never needed to use that word before (the answer is “une poêle”).

I stopped writing down quotations from books years ago, when I realized that I was reading to find things to write down–but I’m finding that with French literature it helps if I record passages that I really, truly understand in my gut, without translating.

A court de souhait, elle leur a jeté, son tour venu, sur un ton de mépris:
-Moi, je serai marin! parce qu’elle rêve parfois d’être garçon et de porter culotte et béret bleus. La mer qu’ignore Minet-Chéri, le vaisseau debout sur une crête de vague, l’île d’or et les fruits lumineux, tout cela n’a surgi, après, que pour servir de fond au blouson bleu, au beret à pompon.

I don’t trust myself to give it a good word-for-word translation, but this is Minet-Chéri’s contribution to a game of “qu’est-ce-qu’on-sera”–what will you be? She says that she will be a sailor, because she dreams sometimes of being a boy and wearing pants and a blue beret…but the idea of being a sailor has nothing to do with the sea or islands or “luminous fruits,” it’s just an excuse to wear a blue shirt and a beret with a pom-pom on top.

It’s nice to get it.