Tuesday, July 7, 2009

tales of a french wedding

my nearly non-existant french was sorely tested over the weekend, as i attended festivities in honor of my host's sister's wedding. the french are insane drinkers and serioulsy- everyone, old women, young children, bride and groom, and the majority of the guests- were up dancing and drinking until the sun came up.

and i ate duck. fatty duck, i guess it's known in english. it was okay.

the highlight was a 13 year old kid i met who has learned english from watching american rappers on youtube. initially he walked up to me and said, in heavily accented english, "what's up, man? i'm a mother f*cker." he then continued on, as i laughed hysterically, doubled over because it was so funny. his french family members who were nearby stared at us and seemed unable to understand why i was so hysterical. he spoke pretty good english, but really the only things he knew how to say were horribly offensive and rude. and he had a really thick french accent. it was one of the funnier things that i have encountered of late.

another funny thing that happened- well, at the time it wasn't funny at all, but now it is- we stayed the night at the bride's house, only she and her husband weren't there because they'd stayed someplace else. so at about 6 am- really we'd only just fallen asleep, there came several knocks on the door and shouts from outside. i was on the couch in the living room and couldn't hope to talk with them in french so i just sat there, figuring the noise, which by this point also included repeated sounding of a doorbell that sounded like a fire alarm, would rouse my french speaking friends. it didn't. i sensed that, inevitably, whoever was outside was going to find their way in and i began to plot my escape. before i could move, however, a drunk frenchman began crawling through the open kitchen window. i sat up on the couch and watched, horrified, as he was followed by more drunk frenchmen, a couple children, and a pregnant french women. someone opened the door and more drunk french people streamed into the house. seriously- there were about 20 drunk french people who just appeared out of nowhere, as if from a clown car. i just stared at them. one of them asked me if i slept well and i said no. they were there to attack the newly married couple and when they discovered that the couple had slept elsewhere, they began to leave. for me, however, the damage was already done- i couldn't get back to sleep on the couch for fear that drunk frenchmen might stream through the kitchen window again at any moment. i cursed the french to myself- their insanely difficult language, their drinking habits, and their reluctance to speak the english that i know all of them speak. i knew later the event would be funny and would make a good story- but at the moment- i hated france.

my french has progressed exponentially since my arrival, but i still talk like a 2 year old and if it wasn't for kindly middle-aged women who take pity on my and my ineptitude, i would get nowhere around here.

other highlights- my host's grandmother was an eighty something year old english woman who moved to france in her late teens and had 11 children. she told me one of the things she had yet to do in her life was to eat a real american hamburger. she was pretty amazing and was among the dancers up at 5 am still drinking and dancing after the wedding.

speaking of dancing- the band at the wedding specialized in covering ameican music. it was pretty ridiculous and highly amusing.

i leave france a week from today. saturday i'll go up to paris and spend a few days before i fly out to athens. it's been a good run overall. lots of lessons about life and being happy and being me. i miss my house and friends and cats in tucson. but time away has been good for me. what i needed? i guess. i expected to feel completely relaxed the entire time i've been gone and to have none stop epiphanies and adventures. there have been adventures and epiphanies- but also a lot of fatigue and frustration.

life is full of the drama of human beings. it's just the way we are. we are emotional creatures sending out our wierd vibes and mixed messages and confusing the people around us, who in turn do their thing and confuse us. it's just the way it is with human beings and the only way to escape it all is to isolate oneself and hole up in a cabin in the woods with no contact. but i don't want that. maybe for a few days or something, but along with other people's drama comes other people's beauty and joy and passion. and i like beauty and joy and passion. along with shared glances at just the right moment and the peace of friendly silences among people who know eachother well. i like all those things and i like friends.

when i left i felt like i was escaping other people, escaping my own emotions, feelings of inadequacy stress. big suprise- france has people in it, too, and drama between them. and i still have my own turbulent emotions and stress and inadequcy. so it must be that these things exist everywhere and my job it to deal with it inside myself. and so my growth as a human being continues.

mostly i just want a giant cup of coffee with soy milk in it and 50 cent refills. that's what i miss most about america.


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