Saturday, January 17, 2009

Notes from an Evening in French

I'll leave the story of the galette du roi in V Town for another time to explore the wackiness of last night. D and I were already going out together, and then in the afternoon she told me that we would be joined by another teacher from L School, F, who we already know is no friend to me and probably invited herself to keep D and I from hanging out together. The couple of other times that all three of us have gone out together she has involved D in a one-on-one conversation and I sit there like an idiot.

Except that tonight F brought along three guys, one of whom she was trying to sleep with and the other two I guess were there to keep D and I occupied? Not sure. In any case, what a pack of annoying losers. Highlights of the evening included:

- the guy F was trying to sleep with asking D why she doesn't have any children at the ripe old age of 35. Rude much? Me saying that having children isn't the only goal women have these days. Two of the guys laughing at me for thinking that maybe having a career is important to women.

- the guy F was trying to sleep with flirting with all three ladies present very openly. The old guy trying to get with D (who has a boyfriend).

- Me trying to explain to the guy F was trying to sleep with why talking about the growing power of China with the phrase "if you mix yellow with white you end up with yellow" is inappropriate and racist. The two guys then criticizing Americans for being all talk and no action on our own racism. Elect anyone named Barack Obama recently Frenchies?

- me telling them why I don't like the French education system, basically because all it teaches kids is to shut up and copy what the teacher says, have no self esteem and no mind of their own. Why it's better in America where we nurture children's self esteem and creativity and have interactive lessons. F telling me that clearly the American system doesn't work because the kids always get overexcited during English class. Me deciding to stop talking because it was clearly a bad idea to embark upon this conversation with F, who is your classic French teacher (reference end of linked post above).

- F trying to make me explain our directeur physically to the guy she's trying to sleep with to proove her point that he's not attractive. Talk about a loose-loose situation! Me trying to extricate myself by talking about the love of my life, George Clooney, and married men being off limits.

- me being forced to hang out with these people and not amusing myself when I could have been hanging out with the cool conseiller municipal from V Town (where V School and my new best friend Directrice V are located). Me thinking that V Town is everything that L School isn't.

Overall it was not a terribly enjoyable evening for me, but I did come to France to interact with real French people in French culture. The problem is that I'm doing this out in the boondocks with people who have very different views of the world than I do. If I were in a town of 30,000 in the US I'm sure I'd encounter similar people with similar points of view. These are the kind of ideas that you know exist out there but never think to encounter. I mean, the things they said were so ridiculous that you can only laugh about them. I kept telling myself that this is material for an entire chapter when I write my own Petite Anglaise style memoirs and will eventually make me lots of money.

(Not really. I have no plans to write a memoir of my time in France. There is no money in my future. I'm storing up memories for the therapy I'll need when I get back to the US)

I shouldn't be surprised by F's behavior towards me, but I am. Was she gunning for me or what? I hope I didn't give her too much that she can turn against me, although I think that she could turn everything I say against me. At least I managed to sidestep that whole directeur question. I just have to learn to be constantly on my guard and very careful about what I say when I'm around her. That means no more discussions of the French educational system!

The best part about the evening that makes all the rest of it not so bad? I realized that I speak French really, really well now. That's a pretty cool feeling. Everything was said in French, I actively participated in the conversations in French, was able to argue in French, and I understood 97% of what was said. That is a pretty big accomplishment. I hope this means I've reached a new level in my overall French and that it isn't just an anomaly!


Leesa said...

Oh là là... Quel horreur! Sorry you got so stuck with this group of peeps! On a nicer note, you'll be joining the likes of US, tomorrow, and I'm sure we'll all have a great time... You can meet Alex, and speak with him in French... as he doesn't speak English. It's always really nice for him when he gets to meet my American friends and actually get to know them in his own lang! See ya tomorrow... Take care, Leesa : )

David said...

"The problem is that I'm doing this out in the boondocks with people who have very different views of the world than I do."

Isn't it the whole point?
If you want to meet people that think exactly like you, living abroad may not be the best of ideas.

Leah said...

David-I don't think she wants to "meet people that think exactly like her", just not such an extreme difference. And obviously she's living abroad because she wants to be here and have an enriching experience learning about another culture as well as her own. And, she even saw the positive side by saying how much her French has improved. Donc, voila.

ASL-Congrats on your French progress, I'm happy for you!

Andromeda said...

Friday I was talking to a girl in Ben's town:
Her: So, where do you parents live in the states?
Me: Washington
Her: Oh, I don't think I know that town
Me: Washington DC.
Her: No, never heard of it
Me (giving her quite a look): Washington DC? The capital of the country?
She shakes her head.

Ok, so she was like, 14 but still, OMGWTF?? Must be a full moon or something, the crazies are out.