I'm really enjoying my French class. My teacher's name is Florence, and she's very cheerful and funny, and I don't have to worry abut my UC GPA floundering or about reading 18th Century court documents or if she's going to make fun of me, so it's basically great. 75% of every French class I've ever taken (this is my seventh) is a review, and we're definitely reviewing the basics a lot, but what is realllly good about Florence is that she places a big emphasis on improving our vocabulary. Every time we start discussing any adjective, she'll have us try to list as many synonyms and antonyms of that word as possible, so that, for example, we're not always using "pendant", but also "durant" "lors que" and "au cours de". I think that while there's only so many verb tenses I will actually ever use, being able to use more than just the words that I learned in French 1 and have been using over and over ever since will be the best way to sound like I have a good command of the language, so I'm really happy with how things are going.
The other thing that makes this class a little more advanced and really great is that instead of only learning and reviewing verb tenses, we spend a lot of time going over what sense each usage conveys in a sentence. For example, in these past tense sentences about a man crossing the street and a car crossing the same street:
1. Il avait traversé quand une voiture est arrivée.
(He crosses the street, and then the car arrives).
2. Il traversait quand une voiture est arrivée.
(He was still in the process of crossing the street when the car arrived).
3. Quand il a traversé, une voiture est arrivée.
(Ambiguous: It either happens at the same time, or in succession).
4. Alors qu'il traversait, une voiture est arrivée.
(The exact same sense as #2, phrased in a different way).
5. Il a traversé alors qu'une voiture arrivait.
(Le suicide. He crosses while the car is already in the process of arriving).
So it's going well.
Today, I wrestled another spider out of the jar that we keep our Nespresso capsules in, and then later walked downstairs to have an Elizabeth Bridge moment (the large spider that I killed in my room a few nights ago had come back to life and was now waiting for me on the stairs). I decided to let it live, for now, but we'll see what happens.