Saturday, October 1, 2011

French Connection, pt. deux

Bonjour mes amis!

It’s official…I’m in France! Or to be more exact, I’m in Monaco. Which means I’m surrounded by palm trees, pretending I’m Grace Kelly, enjoying 80 degree weather and looking at this:

That’s what I saw while flying into Monaco. Tomorrow I’ll post a few that I took from the balcony of my new home. Merci beaucoup, God, for sending me here. I am in awe!

But getting to this view didn’t exactly come easy. Actually, let me re-phrase that—getting to this view involved a semi-nightmarish, that-doesn’t-seriously-happen, C-list movie-esque airport experience during my layover in Madrid.

But we’ll have to come back to that later (great teaser, right?) Because today, my first day in France, is the day I finish the story of how I actually got to France in the first place.

Yes, I met a boy (the boy we’ll refer to from here on out as French Connection). And not just any boy—a french boy who was working for his uncle at a bakery I’ve been going to since middle school, who happens to have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen dans ma vie.

Our conversation went like this.

FC: “Eer iz your chick-un sand-weech.”

Me: “Vous etes francais?” (I feel very cool at this point for eeking out a coherent sentence in French. Nevermind that it’s potentially the most basic intro-to-french phrase out there…)

FC: “Oui, lblashdgldshglsdhgilsdhg.” (He’s a native speaker. I can’t keep up with the speed. I sit there, mesmerized by the beauty of the language, positive in that moment that I will never, ever become fluent.)

Me: Silent head nod.

Based on that, you’d think that this friendship would go nowhere, right? Thankfully, my language skills (please interpret that loosely) eventually kicked in, and I was able to come up with another reason to talk to him ask him for a “croissant chaud.” That literally means “hot croissant”—I wanted to say “I’d like this warmed up in the microwave,” but you know, I took whatever my mind could recall at the time and ran with it.

After he brought me my croissant chaud, we made plans to meet up and help each other with the respective languages we wanted to learn—me, French (and also basic American social skills), and him, English.

Long story short: what was supposed to be one coffee-based cultural exchange meeting à la Starbucks turned into a whirlwind tour of Dallas. Even though I was born and raised in Texas, FC somehow knew of embarrassingly more cool dining locales, wine-tasting venues, picnic sites and dessert destinations than I could even begin to name. It’s like I was reintroduced to my own city by a Frenchman. And did I mention he brought me flowers and boatloads of carbs every time he came to see me?

Anyway—after meeting him, I met his uncle (the owner of the bakery) and his wife. Shortly thereafter, I began babysitting occasionally for their daughter. When they found out I had graduated early from school and still hadn’t found a permanent position in Dallas yet (aka that I was jobless…), they asked if I would be interested in working as an au pair for family they had living in France.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t even let them finish their pitch when they asked me about it for the first time. And now, here I am! FC is still in Dallas, but he’ll be here to visit in a month. And his aunt is coming next weekend, which means I’ll see a familiar face soon.

But you know what? I’m not even relying on that like I thought I would. For maybe the first time ever, I am totally okay with everything being such an unknown. Tomorrow, I’ll probably still be sleeping off jet lag (and filling you in on my Madrid misadventure). But come Monday, I’m walking to the nearest village and trying out my French on some other unsuspecting person who will probably expect me to be way more fluent than I actually am. Maybe I’ll freeze up—or maybe I’ll make a new friend in the process.

Mais c’est la vie, non?


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