Well, there is a pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel for me and Ryan, although it necessitates certain misery for a new set of renters. The result of our recent rock-the-boat measures has caused enough fear and/or discomfort to Finet that she is now saying she'll make an "exception" just this once for us and let us have our money back IF she can find someone to take our room. Right now we're being quite individualistic in looking out for our own interests, but we do feel bad for the doomed souls that move in after us. Yet my goal is to make it impossible for her to continue renting this apartment in the future, so hopefully the suffering will be put to an end somewhat soon (although within the French system who knows what "soon" means). In regards to that, Karl and Giuseppe went to speak to a semi-lawyer on Friday, who did indeed confirm that it is illegal for her to sleep in the hallway and all that (wow, big surprise there!). This afternoon Karl and I returned to the neighbors' downstairs, where we were met with a very warm reception indeed. We swapped crazy Finet stories (which of course are never in short supply), and talked legal stuff. They were very happy to receive the photos and statement concerning the apartment, in fact, they even gave us a bottle of wine when we were leaving!! The sweet nectar of alliance. So hopefully at the very least we can help them and the rest of the building out in the long run, as what they've really been in need of is certain evidence that only insiders like us could provide (heh heh heh).
In other signifigant news, I passed my "exam" (which in fact was not a tremendously big, or graded, deal) last week, which was a relief to be done with. I thought the thing that was the most stressful about the whole ordeal was that I was working with someone that was always freaking out and pissed at everyone else. Granted, I felt pressure to get things done and to do them well, but even still I didn't feel inclined to have a heart attack over it. But my partner's attitude put quite a damper on the whole class, and me most of all. In the end I was fairly happy with the quality of my products. Some things weren't perfect, but on a whole I think I did a competent job, and was told as much by the teacher in the critique. It's very strange that we're done with the part of the program where we're all together... there probably won't ever be a week that we're all there at the school. I must say it's sort of sad. Some of my favorite classmates are pursuing cuisine, so we will have few or no classes together now. And I found out my conserves (i.e. pickles, etc) class was cancelled, as I was apparently the only one signed up for it. It's really too bad, as I was especially looking forward to it. But I will replace it (hopefully) with a pretty awesome looking petits fours class in December, for which I saw the presentation last week. And in honesty that is of much more professional use to me than pickles.
We leave on another little road trip tomorrow night with Karl and Beppe to Holland and Belgium. It should be a lot of fun. Not really sure where we're staying or even going precisely, but we'll find out soon enough. Unfortunately, Karl had his bag stolen from Champs de Mars on Saturday... and with it his passport, wallet, drivers license, credit cards, iPod, digital camera... everything important, basically. I feel really bad for him, and I feel stupid because I was sitting right next to it when it happened. We pretty sure we got totally worked over by a crew of scammers. One hit on me to keep me busy, another two chatted up Karl, and then one of them excused himself and must have swiped the bag. Makes me feel quite a bit more mindful for the future. Shit happens, I guess.
Saw the Pride march/ festival at Bastille on Saturday also, which was truly quite underwhelming, not so much in size but in creativity. Very conservative, compared to San Francisco, or even to Minneapolis, I felt like. It was with clinical precision that they cleaned up after such an event! I have never seen such a marvel of efficiency. Huge crews of trucks with pressure hoses, dudes with those green brooms, leaf-blowers, sweeping trucks and more descended upon the area like hyenas, leaving nary a trace of the day's events. All before the sun had even set. I then went directly to see the movie Paris, Je T'aime, which I must say I really liked... or dare I say-- loved? No pun intended. No really, it was very good. The Coen brothers' story was funny. Man, Steve Buscemi is getting old.
Been reading more in French lately, including some comics. Expanding my vocabulary more and more. Going to start working on my command of the subjunctive, which is a weird concept to me but necessary to master if I want to speak properly.
And last but not least, eager to know how everything went at the Beard house for Auriga!!! Been thinking about it all weekend. Sent my thoughts westward across the pond.