Sunday, September 24, 2006

Work, life and the party.

According to whom you ask, my French may be coming along quite well. If you ask my co-workers – one Japanese, one Chinese, one Moroccan, none native to France – they’d say that two weeks in, I’m doing well.

After work...

On the other hand, if you ask a native French about my progress, they’d likely grin slightly and begin to laugh before telling you I’ve got the most confusing accent they’ve ever heard. I suppose it’s the natural product of multiple teachers from multiple countries.

I hope you don't mind a bit of ash in your wine.

I’ve done well to dispel many myths Americans think the French have about us. For one, they can’t believe I don’t watch TV. Tonight, they all wanted to watch Desperate Housewives and were surprised that a) I didn’t want to watch and b) I’d never actually seen the show. I explained (in my growing French) that I don’t have time. Mostly, I eat, sleep, run, read, write and work.

The main street in Beziers. We took a trip last weekend.

I have failed, however, to quiet the idea that Americans eat a lot. I’ve become the one at dinner who’s given the rest of the food after everyone else is served. Tonight, I was given four eggs, my own large link of sausage, about half a liter of rice, lots of wine (I may have had something to do with that), and half a baguette of bread. For a while Marie would tell me, “you’re going to get a stomach ache if you eat all of that.” Now she just tells everyone that I exercise a lot and need the calories.

At the beginning of this week, a documentary film maker visited the estate and proceeded to film almost every hour of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before leaving this morning. He interviewed everyone who spoke French and followed us around for a long time running film. Don’t expect a major release state-side anytime soon.

Charles, Marie, and unnamed/unknown woman.

We had another bat incident a last week. As we were eating supper, a bat flew into the kitchen and began to circle the table. Somewhat surprisingly, nothing was broken as everyone bolted from the table to seek shelter in the hallway. Soon, Yoshi and I chased the bat (I had to pretend to be brave in front of everyone, rabies be damned) into the hall and after about 5 minutes of ducking and dodging while swinging magazines at it, it flew out of one of the opened doors and we were able to resume supper.

I actually work sometimes.

Today, work was a struggle. Occasionally, Marie rents part of the estate for social functions. Last night I experienced a French wedding reception. Similar to American wedding receptions, it included alcohol, loud music, and rabble rousing. While this is all well and good, my room is just above the “social hall.” Let’s just say the music didn’t stop ‘till the sun came up – literally. I watched the Godfather I and III last night, didn’t start them ‘till midnight. For those of you who know how long those movies are – well, they ended at about the same time as the music.

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