My second day of classes. So far, things are going great. My professor is hilarious: imagine Chris Rock, but French, and with a purple blazer. He translates comedy using overly spirited hand gestures and, when he absolutely has to explain something in English, a mock exaggerated American accent.
At 10.01 am exactly, he stops talking. The noise outside is deafening; we can barely hear him speak. He laughs, looking at our bemused faces. And bemused we are- in Paris, public displays of emotion of any kind are rare. Was it some kind of protest? Was there a midday rave going on that we weren’t aware of?
“C’est le bac”, he says. The results of the “bac” (equivalent to IB/ A-Levels), had just come out. The noise was the sound of students celebrating on the streets. “They’ve all got good results then?” someone asks.
Our professor smirks. “No, they’re just glad to be done with school”.
All of us in the class look at each other and burst out laughing. Some things, it seems, are universal.