Well its back to the grindstone – Design studio started this week. We are working in groups of six – five French students and one American student – to explore a constructive figure in an urban site (in Paris) as well as a natural site (on the island Thassos, Greece). My group’s assigned constructive figure is “creuser dans la masse” or carving out so we are studying the ways in which you can carve habitation as well as mixed use areas from a natural as well as an urban mass.
Since Monday was the first school day for the French students, we all met in the school auditorium where the ENSAV and SAPV professors presented the project to us. Afterward we split into groups which was chaotic and it took almost the entire day to straighten out teams so that in each group there was exactly five French students and one American student. My group specifically had a very rocky beginning – not like most groups in regards to finding enough members, but in “clicking” as a team. One of my teammates told me within the first half hour that two of the boys in our group are “paresseux” or lazy which is very unfortunate and then the other three did not seem to be very close with one another. In addition, I constantly feel restricted expressing what I want to say due to the language barrier – three of my group members know some English but overall the communication is in French.
However, this afternoon, three of my group members and I went to Paris to visit/ photograph our urban site. Afterwards we were able to spend some time hanging out together which broke some of the ice between them and moi aussi. We went to Paris’ Grande Mosque and café where we shared a plate of patisseries and had some tea. The treats were delicious but very sweet.
On the ride over, one of my teammates, Robin, who speaks fairly good English, proposed that we should have hybrid conversations where he speaks to me in English and I respond to him in French thereby practicing with one another. I really appreciated his help when he corrected me on a few phases and taught me new vocabulary. However for most of the afternoon, I was completely lost in the conversation – they speak very quickly with one another, especially Thibault who is from Bretagne, where it is custom to speak even more quickly than then other French regions. So overall, my French is going to have to improve soon!