Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Friday, June 6, 2008

In my quest in becoming the new! improved! version of me, last night I decided to go to a meeting. I'd been on the fence about going by myself since I'm kind of shy, but finally thought "Suck it up, Samantha. So what if you go alone? That's the whole point of these things - to meet people!". So I went, and I'm really glad I did.

The theme of the night was "Wear a funky t-shirt". I don't really have many shirts that would fall into the category of "funky", so I wore my Finnish shirt that says "Sisukas Soumalainen". It ended up being a pretty good conversation starter, and I met the craziest mix of people. I met an American who was working as a lawyer here and who's now taking some time off. An American woman in pretty much the same situation as me, ie. followed a Frenchie here and now they just broke up. An American guy who lives in Paris but who's family lives in Bourgogne. And my favorite of the night - a tiny little gay Parisian figure skating coach who now lives in Geneva but who spent five years in Scotland. He was so adorable, and we have a date to go skating next time he comes back to Paris.

Just before leaving, I also met this really nice French girl who just got back from working in the US. She really loves the US and American culture, so she wanted to meet some anglophones (but like me, was hesitating about showing up alone). I almost asked if she wanted to exchange phone numbers, but then thought it might be too forward for a French girl since we'd just met. She's planning on going to some of the future events though, so I'm hoping we'll meet up again. That's going to be my biggest challenge here - finding people to speak French with. A lot of the people there last night didn't speak French very well and I totally see how it'd be possible to live in Paris without really ever needing French at all - but that's definitely not a trap I want to fall into.



Blogger Katia said...

YAY! I'm glad you went. They're a great group of people. Did you meet Michelle and Axel?
I NEARLY went but had way too much stress from work yesterday so I ended up flaking on the couch with the cat ;)

June 6, 2008 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger C. said...

ahh, yes, the non-bilingual expat. I think there is something amazing about living in Paris and never really learning French. it used to really bother me (especially when such expats then complain about how bureaucratic it all is - can they even begin to understand when they can't even read the paperwork??)but now I think it's sort of part of the magic that is Paris. However, I don't think this magic extends into la campagne. And when I meet expats out here who don't speak french I think they are a little crazy.

And good on you for getting out!

June 6, 2008 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Good for you!

June 6, 2008 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger eastcoastsnob said...

What meetup are you going to? If you're going to the expat one - the organizer is really great. I think his name is Andy. He and his wife publish and e-mag called Hobo In Paris.

And though I'm a fan of Meetup I HIGHLY suggest that you go to meetIN. Both groups are good, but meetIN is a younger crowd, the events vary a bit more and they occur more often.


June 6, 2008 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger The Bold Soul said...

Oh Andy & Mollie Coyne are super! I haven't been to an Expats Paris meetup in a while and I keep meaning to at least go to lunch one afternoon soon, but it might have to wait until after the summer months. That's a great meetup group... another good one is the New in Town meetup, especially if Edouard is organizing a walking tour of some part of Paris. There's a Museum group organized by Elena which is also good.

June 6, 2008 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Hey!! I never heard of any of these groups!! I would like to go, too!! It sounds like a lot of fun!!

June 6, 2008 at 10:43 PM  
Blogger Taylor said...

ha! i'm going to do too!

June 9, 2008 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Global Librarian said...

Speaking as a non-bilingual expat I do feel some need to defend our group a little.

Learning a second language is easier for some and harder for some. I am trying and I can manage a basic conversation as long as the other person speaks clearly and slowly, but it is exceptionally difficult for me. I was diagnosed with a learning disorder many years ago in school. The disorder is similar to dyslexia, but impacts my ability to learn math and foreign languages.

I am still trying, and I will continue to try. I meet weekly with a private tutor. I also volunteer at a local library to further my exposure to the language. But the fact of the matter is that I am unlikely to ever be fluent in German, regardless of how long I live here and how much effort I make.

Do not be scornful of others whose stories you do not know. You may not fully understand why other expats cannot speak the language in their host country.

June 10, 2008 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Samantha said...

oh, no GL! I wasn't trying to judge anyone - just say that I can definitely see why (and how) so many people in Paris can get by without learning much French, and that I wanted to keep up my French and not just be speaking in English all the time.

June 10, 2008 at 12:00 PM  

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