Thursday, September 6, 2012

California Dreamin'?

I'm going to write things a bit out of order here because today's events were good, but not as funny as yesterday's. Plus, if you know something funny is coming, maybe you'll keep reading! Tonight, a few friends and I decided to grab some dinner and go sit by the river seine. On our walk over, we passed this little band of old men playing jazz music. Except for the kid playing the bass. He looked young and a little out of place. But it was so great. There was even a little old lady doing some sort of dance to add to the atmosphere. Sitting by the seine with some wine and some friends is the cool thing to do. So, we thought we'd try to be cool and it wound up being a wonderful night. Two other girls and I sat and ate dinner and just talked for about an hour. We had a view of the sun setting over some random bridge to our left and a view of part of Notre Dame to our right. After the cheap chinese food, we bought some ice cream and walked around a bit. 

This is when I had my "OH MY GOD I'M IN PARIS" moment. We were walking down some cute little street and we passed an outside cafe. Someone inside was either playing the piano or the they were playing music. There were lights on the trees and a great atmosphere and I just felt it. As cheesy as it sounds, it was great, and I think really something I needed. 

One class I have is called "Equality and Diversity in the US." Why I decided to take a class on the US during my semester abroad in Europe is beyond me. But, I needed a class so I clicked the little box and that's that. Anyway, if you don't know, each french student is required to study abroad for their third year of schooling. In this class today, we went around and introduced ourselves and one french girl said she taking this class because she's interested in doing her year abroad in the US. The teacher asked where specifically and she said California. When I introduced myself, I can honestly say, I felt pretty awesome. California is such a destination, which we forget some times. But to me, it's boring, and PARIS is the place to be. She said she'd never been to the US before, which is crazy talk to me. But Paris is the norm to her. Such an interesting difference. 

Another one of the classes I'm taking is a lecture class called "Foundations for the social sciences: analytical and critical social theory." It seems like it's going to be an interesting class, a lot about philosophy and theories and how people can go in circles when having discussions. Doesn't seem to be too hard but will definitely be a great class and my first about anything related to philosophy.

I usually google my teachers beforehand but didn't get a chance to for this professor. He walked into the classroom wearing a nice suit and rolling a suitcase. The class went through the usual routine of quieting down as soon as the professor walks in, then realizing that he's not ready to start and everyone continues talking. As he was unpacking his suitcase, I kept an eye on him to see exactly what is was he had in there. Out of the bag came, of course, a lap top computer, some notes, some sun glasses, and, to my surprise, a bag of peanut M&M's. I thought to myself, okay, that's fine, so he likes to snack during the lecture. Can't blame him, seeing as though the lecture is two hours long.

He decided to give a simple little intro lecture just to get us started on the ideas of the course. First, he posed two questions. "Are you (really) free to choose?" and "Is it 'reality' you can see in front of you?" Already, it was clear this would be an intriguing class. He talked at us about the "model society" and the "model man," what exactly it means to be able to chose freely, and if we actually have the power to choose freely. Society can be viewed as a box. The example of a free model society is America (which he decided to spell "Amerika"). And the people within this box who are most free reside in the bottom left hand corner. This bottom left hand corner of Amerika is also known as California. And within this bottom left hand corner called California, the people who are most free are from a place called...Los Angeles. 

Already, I could tell this wasn't going to be good. I was utterly embarrassed and pretty much laughing out loud to myself in a silent classroom. Fortunately, he went with the typical surfer dude stereotype, a boy named Brad who was free to surf and vote and be Amerikan. 

Yet, the real fun had barely started. As the lecture continued, he removed his tie and began to get more comfortable with the class and the lecture really became interesting. We began discussing reality, and if what we're seeing is really real, if all the knowledge we've learned is actually applicable and meaningful in the broader scheme of the world. Before I knew it, the sunglasses were on. There was a blue peanut M&M in one hand and a red peanut M&M in the other hand. He told us we had a choice. Some of you can see where he's going with this. We could either take the blue "pill" and keep on living believing the reality is, in fact, real, or we could take the red "pill" and join him in the journey of discovering if reality is actually real. Guess we didn't have much of a choice. Guess I'll be seeing how deep the rabbit-hole goes, as long as I don't have to be reborn in a gross pod of goo, or whatever.  

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