Tiny steps in the right direction!

I have had some small victories over the past 24 hours…here they are…

My advisor here at the lab mentioned a series of chamber concerts that happen in Marseille and there was one last night. Not just any concert either, a CLARINET concert! Famous French Clarinetist Paul Meyer was in Marseille and played some amazing rep! Debussy, Poulenc, Schumann, Bernstein and Brahms. I have played each of these pieces at some point in my clarinet career and was sooooo giddy (as nerdy as I can be!) to hear him play them live. I have his CDs man! WOW! He was awesome! He played with his eyes closed most of the time and he had some beautiful throat tones. I did notice some vibratto, which I am not a super fan of on the clarinet but he made it work. Now the back story…I had to find the venue! I had to take one bus and two metros the walk the wrong direction for about half a mile then find the medical school campus, then worry that I didn’t have enough cash to get my subscription (100 euros for like 8 concerts or something), then give up on the ATM and cross my fingers they would take a card. Well, they didn’t, but I successfully had a conversation in French about how I didn’t have checks and didn’t have enough euro billz to pay and I guess they took pitty on me…they gave me a one time free entry and said I could pay next time I came! I can’t believe it, they were so nice and I was major pumped to see this concert!! Then, during intermission a nice older lady asked me if I liked the clarinet and we went on to have a choppy conversation (in a smattering of French and English from both of us) about where we were from and how she had lived in upstate NY for many years and how I played clarinet and am doing Clarinet Acoustics research here in Marseille. Then, after the concert was over she gave me her number and address and said if i would like to have lunch with her and talk to call her, early in the morning. Hehe, I made a friend. So what that she is over 70? I was definitely the youngest person at that concert last night, which happens a lot at stuff like that, and I am pretty proud of it. 🙂 I love music and I hope I can enjoy it forever!

Paul Meyer – French Clarinetist

I then hustled to the metro station, took two different metros to the corresponding stop where I would catch my usual bus which drops me off near my apartment….I missed the last one! I had to walk 3+ miles home. Good thing the weather was nice. But isn’t it funny when you don’t think something is scary until someone tells you that it should have been. My professor said today, “Oh, that isn’t a perfectly safe area at night since it is so quite and not very well lit”. Hmmmm, well I was okay, am okay, thank goodness!

view from the corniche at night

This morning I went confidently to an RTM (Marseille Metro) customer service office at Rond Point du Prado and proceeded to ask if I could buy my Pass-Annual “ici”. (Remember, this is in French, which I began studying a little over a year ago). She said yes but I needed a few things…color picture – CHECK!, student ID card…check, or so I thought. She wanted a double sided copy of the student card. which I didn’t have. There were some other comments such as it might take up to a week to get the student status verified and whatnot but anyway, to shorten the story, I got the Transpass card! With a 7 day pass on it, for now. The thing is I really want to #1 have the student price (it is SOO much cheaper) and #2 get the 1 year pass because this will be cheaper in the long run, even if I am not in Marseille June – August and I will be able to get Le Vèlo (bike) subscription on my transport pass, which would be super awesome and simple. I dunno. Lots of stuffs to work through but my successful “conversation” with the lady at the station made me glad. But honestly the best part was that I just went for it. I knew I had to do it and so I did. YAY!

I am having so much trouble concentrating at work! I know that I have just started but I really couldn’t stay focused for a very long time today. I hope that something changes or these will be a very unproductive 7 months here in terms of research. I want to do big things but right now I feel like I am just trying to get used to a new country and a new language and a new way of working (in this lab).

I will say that I am feeling pretty at home in my apartment. I really like it here. I want to start doing some traveling soon. I received my <27yrs rail discount card in the mail a few days ago (my first piece of mail!) so it’s about time I start buying train tickets for the weekends! I may not do a whole lot until after the holidays but I can start window shopping for trains now 🙂

Wow, I wrote a lot. Thanks for bearing with me!! I’ll leave you with some fun pictures…there is a biology lab near my office and these little guys scream at me every morning. in a nice way, hehe

à bientôt!

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