I think Switzerland has more holidays than work days. I've only been here four weeks and have had two national holidays. This Monday was one of those holidays so I spent the extended weekend touring Paris with my brother, Matt. Matt is touring Europe for a month before starting grad school and flew into Paris this past Friday. I met up with him on Saturday and we went straight to the Louvre. We were told that no one can do the Louvre in one day so just to pick a wing. We went through 90% of that museum in four hours (I say 90% because we could never find the Egyptian exhibit and I think we skipped Holland painters or something similar). We started in the Denon wing - which has the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Roman stuff, Venus di Milo, and all the Italian painters. It was mildly amusing that there were mobs of people in front of the Mona Lisa and Winged Victory and Venus di Milo, but no one in the tapestry part of the Richelieu wing (though probably for good reason...tapestries seem to look mostly the same after a while). I liked the Italian painters, the bedroom furniture / jewels of Napoleon in the Richelieu wing, and the Roman statues. Though I think my favorite part of the Louvre was the architecture and the paintings on the ceilings, etc.
After the Louvre, we walked to Notre Dame and walked through it as I listened to the Hunchback of Notre Dame soundtrack on my Ipod (really adds something extra). From Notre Dame was walked back to the Louvre and the Tulleries gardens, then down to the Arc de Triomphe. We assumed that we could walk to the Arc easily enough because we could see it. After a mile or so we realized it was just really big. We made it... eventually, and had a lovely walking tour of downtown Paris in the process. The next day we visited Versailles which was probably the most beautifully decorated building I have ever seen. Everything was gold and some of the halls were so big that they looked like train stations. We walked through the "gardens" (for lack of a better description of the 100 acre park that we got lost in several times). I especially enjoyed the Queen's Hamlet - a rustic little village which seemed to exist for the sole purpose of amusing the queen.
Arc de Triomphe
After Versailles we went up the Eiffel Tower. We had planned on being athletic and going up the stairs, but by then my feet were throbbing and Matt's back was stiff so we took the elevator. But we did get really cool pictures from the very top. By the next day we were still in pain from the two days of endless walking so as we went through the musee de l'armee, we had to stop every couple rooms to sit for a while and appreciate the old French uniforms. Napoleon's tomb was cool - especially the building / room it was in with it's gold dome. After the museum, we took the metro to Bastille then sat in a cafe until our train left for Switzerland. I actually enjoyed the four hour train ride. I sat across from a six year old who couldn't seem to understand that I had no idea what he was saying or perhaps thought that if he talked to me often enough I would eventually understand. I learned the word for mermaid - un sirene - butterfly, Dracula, and ghost. We bonded over The Little Mermaid, proving once again that with Disney, it is a small world after all.
This week in work was dedicated to my eLearning program on Theme and Theory of the Case. I have gone over that presentation so many times that I think I can recite the whole thing off the top of my head. But it's getting there. I'm still not entirely satisfied with the look - I'm aiming for professional but eye-catching. I'm trying to build a series of hypotheticals where the student can build their own theory of the case with as much leeway as I can get out of our technology. So I've been working with branch tables and a very complicated hypo to make a quiz sort of layout where the options change based on the answers they choose. It's a slow, complicated process, but I think it'll be worth it in the end.
Me eating Crepes Sucre
As for recording my voice for the eLearning lesson... I've had to do each slide at least ten times which equals about eight hours of recording altogether. By the end of the third day of rerecording I was really tired of saying the same thing over and over again. You really learn how bad your enunciation is when you have to listen to yourself read words like "Acquisition," "and an adult" and "the theory" - alliteration makes enunciation difficult in general. Halfway through I adopted what my fellow interns have called my "Flight Attendant Voice": a high pitched, robotic voice that sounds nothing like my natural voice. But it's a lot easier to enunciate and speak for long periods of time like that. I finished by this past Tuesday, but upon making more changes and listening to the final recordings, I realize that I have at least another day of recording left. Oh well. At least I have the anticipation of my inevitable eLearning fame to look forward to.