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I never could get the hang of Thursdays

FRANCE | Monday, 28 September 2015 | Views [384]

Because I switched my French class, I no longer have a five hour break on Thursdays. Instead, I have a class from 10:45-12:45, and then I'm done.

That class was topology. He didn't get around to defining homeomorphism, which means that the material for the TD isn't just one week ahead: it's on a completely different track. (Later, once I finally got around to tracking down the polycopie and looking at it, I discovered why there appeared to be such a discrepancy: the professor wasn't teaching off the polycopie at all. I mean, the concepts were the same, but the order was different. It would be like if you had a professor assign a textbook, start teaching from their own notes which don't necessarily follow the text, and assign homework from the book in linear order. Chapter one section one, chapter one section two, etc. It's not undoable, because the textbook does give you necessary definitions and examples, but you'd still think the professor made a mistake.)

The first hour went pretty well. Definitions, theorems, proofs, etc. Then in the second hour he went into a detailed example about weather. I think he wanted to demonstrate how we could apply am algorithm we'd just used in a proof, but from what I could tell, the application was just "and then you use this here." He spent a lot of time and detail disclosing discussing a function to model weather, but honestly I was not paying that much attention. What is it about topology professors that their examples always seem to cloud the points they're trying to make?

Once that was done, I went back to my apartment to eat and clean. And then around 17:00 it occurred to me that I should do something more interesting. Which, to me, translated as find a bookstore.

Since I'd moved into my apartment, I'd had the vague plan of finding the Book-Off. It's a Japanese bookstore with extremely cheap (most around 1 euro, though some get up to 5, or even 10) books in French and Japanese. And it's large enough that, even if it doesn't work for specific books, you can definitely find plenty of books to read there.

There was a Book-Off nearish my apartment that I'd already stopped into, but it wasn't super large, and there wasn't anything in Japanese. And I knew there was a more major Book-Off in Paris, because I'd seen it the last trip that on was here. So I wanted to find it.

It was more interesting than cleaning, but not by a large margin. It took me several tries to find the right street, which involved crossing the same street three times. This was a little nerve-wracking, since the street in question did not have any lights, but it still had plenty of cars. Basically, you need to cross when the light one street up is red or else you'll get run over. I did not get run over, though by the third time I was strongly considering finding the nearest light so I could stop testing my luck.

The store was in two buildings. One of them advertised "livres," and the other "hon." Unfortunately, the Japanese building was closed, so I was not able to go in and try and see how well my mind could cope with Japanese characters. However, I could find cheap books in French, (and even in English) so how much more did I need?

Once I was done, I caught a very crowded metro back to my apartment, ate dinner, practiced harp, and prepared to leave the next morning. Although it hadn't been much of an adventure, the trip to the bookstore had brought me pretty close to the apartment my parents and I had stayed in last time. It's amazing how different I feel this semester compared to last year, and how different the streets themselves feel. The monuments that defined the last trip have barely been relevant this time around. I know my semester's barely started, but I can't help but wonder what it will be like to revisit Paris for the first time after leaving.


Tags: books, math, topology

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