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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday; half way thru the project

It's Wednesday evening after supper. People are sitting around playing cards, on the computer, cleaning up from supper, and just relaxing. A bunch of people have gone out for the evening, to the Champs Elysees. I'm not sure what they will see or do there, or if they will be disappointed. I was having a conversation with Ji Hoon this afternoon. She says she has been disappointed by everything here; she expected so much more, like the words she and a bunch of the group were singing last week. about how you'll find anything you want on the Champs-Elysees. When I first visited here many years ago, it was really elegant, (although I doubt I would have found anything I wanted) Now it is so commercialized and overtouristed, with chain stores and restaurants. That's true of the Latin Quarter as well, packed with souvenir stores and other places catering to tourists. Last time I was here I was startled to see a Claire's jewelry store on the Blvd. St. Michelle; now it doesn't surprise me, just makes me sad.

I have been interviewing all the people in our group for the organization's blog; I'll probably put some or all of it on here once I've spoken to everyone. One of the things I'm asking everyone is what made them choose this particular project. Invariably, part of the answer is because it is in Paris, and that certainly holds true for me as well. This led to discussion this afternoon about the perception people have of Paris, and why, and if their perceptions of the city have changed since arriving here.

Some people are disappointed in Paris; others are disappointed that we don't have more free time to explore the city. The project description did say, pretty clearly I thought, that folks shouldn't expect to have a lot of time for sightseeing, and should plan extra time for that outide of the project dates. But people get frustrated and opionated nevertheless. I still do think, though, that things are going remarkably well, especially considering the large numbers and close quarters. And in our group, at least, I think people are generally very satisfied with the mosaic project itself. The other group did not see m all that satisfied with their gardening work.
It was hot and it was hard work. For some reason the amount of space they were working on this year was very small, and they have already finished. So they are now working with neighborhood children, which everyone seems to actually prefer. Plus, they are now working on an afternoon schedule. We now therefore have two breakfast shifts, because they don't have to wake up early anymore, and two lunch shifts. They eat at 12:30 and leave here at 1:30; we get back here between 2 and 2:30. It has helped to relieve the crowding since we are on such different schedules.

We have a team of 4 each day, two from each group, who are responsible for cooking and cleaning. Those people don't particpate in the project that day. On other projects I have appreciated the break and change of pace; on this one I really don't want to miss the project. But tomorrow is my turn to cook, etc.

( I had written much more last night, but then lost the internet and the rest of what I wrote, so will have to recreate it. Interesting stuff, too, I thought, about group dynamics and one person in particular who has some special needs. So I hope you will stay tuned, and I hope I will have time to get back to documenting things, too. Tomorrow I will leave to spend the weekend with my old college friend Marie in the Loire valley, where she has lived most of the time since we went to school together here. We haven't seen each other in at least 15 years!)

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