Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Je poussai un soupir....

I've been doing a lot more reading lately, in hopes of bringing up my speech and writing level in French, and I have to say French is amazingly poetic.  I actually posted a bit about this on Google + (If you don't have it, get it!) and I just have to say again how impressed I am with French newspapers.  We're not talking about just the major papers either.  I mean, yeah, read Le Monde or Libération, and you're doing to find beautifully written articles by some amazing writers, but just take this excerpt I read from Ouest-France:

". . . mettant ses pas dans ceux de celui qui voulait 'changer la vie.'" [emphasis mine]

That pass right there is so poetic in my opinion.  Even translating it into English it's poetic: to walk in the footsteps of those who wanted to "change lives."  I dunno if maybe I'm just biased, and it's not like Ouest-France is comparable to the local paper I grew up with that served a county and a half, but it's just beautiful to watch the way words and phrases go together.

Speaking of Le Monde as well, did you know that the proofreaders for the paper have their own blog?  I've been reading for a few years, and you can find it here.

I also borrowed my sister in law's copy of Kafka sur la Rivage by Haruki Murakami.  I loved Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and I was really looking forward to reading IQ84, but I wanted to read it in English just to make sure that I got everything.  We got into a conversation about it back when we visited in May, and she said that she'd lend me IQ84, because they had the three books of it, but only after I read Kafka sur la rivage.  She said she felt it was essential that I read it to understand more about IQ84.  So, challenge accepted.

One of my big fears about reading in French is that I'm always sure I'm missing something.  Sometimes when I talk with people, I have these clips where I miss a word, and I can't fill in the blank.  I can make educated guesses, but by then, they're on to something else.   It's like when you're watching TV and it cuts out as someone says something important, like the verb in a sentence.  It takes you a minute to place the word back in the sense you need.  I guess the best way I've found to know if I'm getting what's being said is to imagine the scene.  If I can see the scene in my head, I usually have a pretty good idea of what's going on.  I guess it's just that.  often subtlety is lost on me.

It took me about a week straight of reading whenever I had free time, which I consider pretty good.  After all, Murakami isn't known as light reading, but the book is also 638 pages.  All in French, and I have to say I was a little wooly in the head when I finished it.  It's like that with any book though.  I don't know if it was the translation though or what but they used the same words and phrases over and over again.  I now have a deep and intimate relationship with the past tenses of "pencher, pousser, secouer, and hocher."  Fortunately, they're all first group verbs so figuring out their origins was easy.  My best guess as to what it was so repetitive was that it was translated from Japanese into French, and therefore there are only so many ways to express such things correctly.

So I'm very proud that I was able to finish it and like Hard Boiled Wonderland before it,  I loved it.  I'm looking forward to starting IQ84 soon, but we'll burn that bridge when it's time.

All of this, of course, to say that I love reading French, and I hope to do it more in the future!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

They did it!

So I keep holding off on this, because I keep convincing myself that somehow there's a reason to wait, but now, I'm all out of reasons.  The Socialists officially control the presidency, the senate, and the national assembly, which means that François Hollande will have no problem bringing his agenda forward when the legislative session starts.  To say it simply, this means full marriage rights are expected in less than a year.

Just to give you an idea, this was a document put out by the Hollande campaign and passed out at a campaign stop in Rennes: (Translation Below)

"I will fight without concession against all [forms] of discrimination and open new rights."
                                                                                      -François Hollande
Fight against LGBT discrimination:

  • Reestablish a method to fight against discrimination with real mediums to react [for] and work with victims.
  • Support the associations which fight against discrimination, in particular those that intervene in the scholarly environment.
  • Train social workers in the fight against discrimination.
  • See to it that deportation proceedings take into account all reasons for deportation, including homosexuality.  
  • Put an end to the exclusion of gays from donating blood.
  • Work with international organizations for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality.  
Rights of couples and same sex families:  Marriage, shared parental authority, adoption, and assisted procreation (artificial insemination and the like.)
  • Open the right to civil marriate to all couples, and reinforce the rights of those pacsed.  (PACS=Pact de Civil Solidarité: civil union.)
  • Regarding shared parental responsibilities and authority, to protect established links between children and the parents who raised them without being his or her biological or adoptive parent.
  • Open two parent adoptions to same sex couples, allow adoption by common law husbands or wives, civil union partner, or remarried spouse.
  • Open artificial insemination to all couples, same or opposite sex.  
Trans Rights:  The State must not be a problem, it must bring solutions.
  • Require that civil documents be changed following sex reassignment surgery, should the candidate so desire.
  • Move forward in 2012 to change texts that function for gender identity to be brought under the same title as sexual orientation, and to be placed among discrimination and hate crime legislation.
If I did translate something wrong, please say something.  My French level is good, but not great.

So these are just the things they're looking to do for the LGBT community here.  Just imagine how much they can do for the rest of the country.  

So as it stands now, it's all a matter of time.  The legislative session starts on June 26th.  Just to give you a rundown on the latest predictions for seat divisions:  Parti Socialiste : 291 seats, Union Majorité Populaire (UMP [Sarko's Ilk]): 241 seats, Europe écologie Les Verts (The Greens): 20 seats, Front de Gauche (The Former Communist Party): 13 seats, Front National(Marine Le Pen's Party): 2 seats.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

He is not dead yet!

So everything's fine here, just a quick message to say I've been having a very odd but wonderful time lately.  At first, I didn't really have interesting to say, and now it's become the husband having a lot of free time before he gets his finals results back.  Now we're helping mother in law look for her new place here in Rennes.  I think he'll start his second year no problem, but he's convinced otherwise.  He might end up doing Pharmacy instead, but nothing's sure on that front.

With the election of Hollande here, it's looking better and better for marriage here.  It's all still a waiting game of course.  If we can make it with a left majority in the National Assembly, we're all set.  It's what most people expect, but I would put nothing past the Front National or the UMP.

I'll try and keep you guys more apprised, but I'm much more active on G+, and to a lesser extent on Facebook.  I need to do some purging of stuff soon too, so hopefully I'll be back to a schedule,...eventually.....

Hope you're all well, and talk soon!