Thursday, December 04, 2014

A perfect day

(Though with the proviso that given that I am in Paris, it did not include any patisserie or other sweets - that may be remedied in coming days.)

I am staying in a cozy little maid's room on the top floor of a small apartment building near the Pasteur metro (will move tomorrow to stay with friends near the Champs Elysees). Got up at a very dark 8 o'clock to type up my notes for the dissertation defense this afternoon, then had a lovely thirty-minute run down the hill to Les Invalides and back home; really probably had time for longer, but this sort of occasion (i.e. dissertation defense) prompts feelings of anxiety about being ready in time, untoward disasters, etc. so I thought I'd better leave some slack!

We took the bus to the Sorbonne; first the examiners had lunch together as a group, then we did the defense in a highly ceremonial room (the candidate sits facing the five jurors, then rows of audience behind, including friends and family). In the break, we were lucky enough to get in to see the chapel, which is not usually open to view: rather splendid and haunting sight.

I am relieved to say (and intend to write an email to thank my excellent high-school French teacher) that I was very readily able to understand the presentations of colleagues speaking in French, though it is absolutely beyond me even to comprehend let alone produce a brief bit of colloquial conversation in bar or restaurant! Both the dissertation and the defense were very good, and we then followed the traditional proceeding and adjourned to a cafe for the small party the candidate throws for examiners and family - champagne and delicious snacks were involved.

Just now catching up on internet at the corner cafe with a glass of wine and a rather substantial cheese and charcuterie plate. A day truly well spent!

Tomorrow, I have the leisure for a longer run I think....

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