Saturday was the day that one of the English Assistants (English the language, not the people group) had arbitrarily chosen as a day that all the assistants should meet up with one another. It was pretty cool to meet people. The majority I would say were American, though there were a lot of British Islanders as well as some Irish and some (guessing stereotypically from their accents) Aussies/Kiwis. There were probably 60 or so of us all there (though I'm very bad at estimating numbers in groups of people). I probably won't hang out with them again, however. I did meet one girl, Katy, that I might wind up sharing an apartment with though.
She was at the American Church looking for housing when these two little ladies approached her and asked if she would be interested in their apartment near the Canal St. Martin. So she went and looked at it and apparently it's pretty cool. We're just waiting to hear back from the ladies. Anyway, after I met Katy, her, me and Sarah all paled around until we met up with one of Sarah's friends from study abroad, Jacqueline. I had met her once briefly while I was studying abroad. But anyway, we met up with her and her boyfriend, Jérôme. He was really nice and actually invited all of us to join him and his friends for some drinks on the champs de mars. (That's the stretch of green in front of the Eiffel Tower.) When he suggested this, I got really really excited about the possibility of actually meeting and hanging out with French people. I played it pretty cool though: trying not to let on to the eruption of excitement that was bubbling up inside me. A simple "oui" sufficed and we were out the door.
We got to the champs de mars and met up with four of Jérôme's friends. I was concentrating so hard on getting the bisous (the kiss on the cheeks) right that I didn't remember a single person's name. Whoops. No problem though: I deftly avoided having to use their names by simply not talking to someone if it was a situation in which I had to get their attention before starting the conversation. Worked like a charm.
We ate junk food and drank wine and the French actually talked to us. It was really great to just be hanging out. After a while we moved along and went to St. Michel which is super touristy but also full of tons of fantastic and diverse restaurants. We went to what they referred to as a "French cheese restaurant." And boy was it. I had raclette which is when you get a plate of "toppings" (veggies or assorted meats or some other things) and then several strips of cheese and some potatoes. Then you get this little oven to heat up your cheese. You put the "toppings" on the plate and then once the cheese has melted, you drip the cheese on top and then go at it. And boy did I. I had a veritable cheese baby by the end. I felt really sick. But in a good way I guess. And I was determined to make the most of the night, so when they asked if we wanted to get some beers, I (again keeping my cool) replied with a simple "oui," and off we went.
We finally got to the bar, I had one drink, was completely filled to the top and we had to get up early for church the next morning anyway, so we called it quits and went home. They took down our emails and we told them to find us on facebook, so we'll just have to see how it works out.
I kept having these "out of body" realizations while were hanging out. It's kind of hard to explain, and sounds really stupid, but it's as if I was living a completely different life. Like, I was talking, joking, eating, listening and whatever else, all in a completely different language. And these people have grown up their entire lives doing this in the same way but differently and now I was a part of it. It was a very "we are the world/kum-ba-ya" moment, I guess. I hope that makes sense.
So anyway, to wrap this up, it was a great night. We went to the American Church in Paris this morning (which was a really good service) and then walked around on the Champs-Elysées and just enjoyed the beautiful weather.
So that's it for now. It was quite the weekend. And this week I start going to the school. I got my schedule though and they've done their best to keep my hours right next to each other, so I don't have to show up at like 8 am and then stay until 3 pm. So that's awesome. And I have every Wednesday off! Huzzah!
And one last thing. There was this kid with a really stupid haircut that demanded ridicule. So here it is. Two pictures, actually.
Ok, that's it.
A la prochaine!