Yesterday I went out and joined my groups! Apparently I'm going to be taking a "modelage" class, not a sculpting class. In France sculpting is exclusively with stone. As much as I love the image of myself as Michaelangelo, slowly chipping away at giant blocks of stone to make beautiful masterpieces, I definitely don't have that kind of patience or muscle control. So modelage it is! I'll sit in on the class next Monday to try it out. The teacher was really nice and seemed very positive about having me in the class despite my failed attempts at pinch pots back in 4th grade. She wants me in the 4:30 class, so I'm not sure how likely it is that there will be anyone my age taking a class at that time of day during normal working hours, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. She also decided to warn me that there are mentally handicapped people in the class. For anyone keeping tabs on the French prejudice against anyone with different mental abilities, you can add that episode to the list. Clearly the teacher isn't prejudiced, but she thought there was a possibility that I might be, or at least that I needed to be alerted to that fact.
Yesterday I also went to choir rehearsal! Mondays are going to be a busy day for me. Everyone in the choir is super nice and they were very welcoming. It seems that the soprano/alto personality divide is the same in France as it is in the US, so the sopranos are mostly the popular girls and the altos are more laid group. I've already been taken in by the soprano "groupe de copines" - the popular girls want me in their group! Let's say that in the US I was the exception to the soprano rule, so this is very exciting. As I was expecting the chorus is almost exclusively retirees, so the average age difference is about 40 years, but they may have chlidren or grandchildren my age who they'll want me to be friends with, or at the very least they may invite me over for dinner sometimes. I was very encouraged by how friendly they were, hopefully it will continue! At least I have the double novelty factor of being a) young and b) American.
The guy who runs the Cultural Center, where I'll be taking my modelage class, is an interesting guy. He started by asking me on what American authors he could read to get more of a feel of the American people and our history, because in France "we don't get the real story." At least he realizes that! And then he wanted to have a long discussion on the situation of American Indians (I use the term American Indian because the last I heard we were moving back towards that rather than saying Native Americans. In any case, I am trying to be sensitive and politically correct). Luckily I happen to know a little bit about this so I could sound semi-intelligent and informed, but if it were otherwise? This is a long winded way of saying that I think it's funny that the French automatically assume that as an American I know everything about America and can discuss any topic under the sun that might have something to do with my country. Do the French themselves feel competant to expound on any topic relating to France? I think the answer to that is yes, I have yet to meet a French person who doesn't have something to say about everything!