This time of year in
Even though I’d been the one to convince Gui to go to the Fête in the first place, I was a little nervous about the whole thing once the day arrived. All those questions start rolling through my mind...will they hate the fact that I’m American?...will they be offended that I can’t properly speak French, yet I’m living in their country?...will anyone speak English to me?...will they like my pasta or think its weird?
The poster said everything would begin at 8pm, so right at 8, I hollered at Gui to help me take everything down. I knew we’d be one of the first to arrive, and we were, with the exception of one tenant and the host of the party (who we later came to know as the “president” of our building, even though he didn’t live there). We chatted for a bit – Gui let them know I didn’t speak French very well, and the first female we met, who happened to be young and very Austin-y I thought, spoke perfect English to me the entire night.
It all turned out pretty well, but there were some noticeable differences in how things are done around these parts compared to what I’m used to. No one served themselves from someone else’s dish until the person who brought the dish started serving it. So, that meant that no one touched my pasta until I finally got up, served myself and Gui some and asked if anyone would like some pasta. Same for the hummus. It was pretty bizarre, and it kind of bothered me that I had to ask if anyone was interested in eating the food I’d prepared – talk about being put on the spot.
We met the lady who lives next door to us, and found out she’s been living in her place for the past 50 years - we learned a lot about our building from her. Apparently, before she lived there, during the war, a bomb blew out the fourth floor of the building and when the got around to rebuilding it, they added another (5th) floor – which is the floor we live on now. It’s pretty neato, actually. The rest of the folks who live on other floors are a great mix of young and middle-aged peeps, all who were incredibly nice and completely welcoming to us newcomers. There’s only one proper family that lives in our building, and I’m not complaining about that. The two kids, though, were rather well-behaved and their parents seemed to have them in check, which is always a good thing.