Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, October 20, 2008

First of all, congratulations are in order for L & B - I hope you have many happy years of marriage ahead of you (though L, if I were you, I really would take my advice and sock him one every once in a while. Just to keep him in line, lol).

In all seriousness though, thank you for inviting me to be part of your special day. Because no matter what everyone else thought, I admire both of you for trying to do it your way. At the end of the day, Saturday was about the two of you and no one else. Hopefully you don't mind me including these pictures on my blog. And if you do, I guess it's too late! :)As for my impressions of the weekend - all I can say is that I was blown away by the kindness of everyone involved. It was just one more experience that made me so glad I decided to stay in France, and did not leave with Bretagne being my only image of this country.

B's family and friends welcomed me with such open arms, I couldn't believe it. I admit that I was a bit nervous about spending the weekend with a bunch of strangers considering how awkward I can be sometimes, but they took me right in and made me feel more at home than anyone did in my 5 years in Brittany. Even B's friends were great - they made an effort to talk to me, ask me questions, interact, etc - there was no me sitting alone and having everyone look at me like I had 2 heads involved. It's like this continuous realization like "Hey, maybe the French aren't so bad after all". And it really makes me sit back and think about how different my experience would have been had I lived elsewhere in France, or maybe just even had a different belle-famille (or if Fab's friends hadn't been such alcoholic losers *S*).

After so many years there though, I couldn't help but develop des repères - things and reactions that seemed to be normal for French people to do in certain situations. But I'm slowly learning that what I thought was "normal" was really just either specific to Bretagne, or to Fab's family & friends. Like when we had the apératif - there was still punch in the bowl at the end of the night! Everyone had a glass or two and that was it - the thing was not drained dry. And then when it came to the meal, several of the guys were driving, so they didn't have a drop of alcohol - they literally drank water all night. Water! In Bretagne, water is for animals (kind of like corn). As for everyone else, most people had one glass of wine with the meal and that was that. I sat there a table full of people in their 20's/early 30's the whole night watching two-half full bottles of wine sitting on the table, not believing no one was touching them. Not a single person was drunk at the wedding. It was like "Does not compute". At least where I lived, a Breton wedding was not considered successful unless everyone was passed out on the floor at 5am. Here, everyone left around 1:30 and there were no worries about anyone having to drive home. What a change.

There were a few unexpected things though - like when the other two witnesses pulled me aside the day before the wedding and asked how the song I was preparing for the wedding was going and if I needed a guitar accompaniment. I was like "Song? What song? Nobody said anything to me about a song??" forgetting that most French weddings involve a lot of singing and games. And then the same thing happened the day of when they asked if I needed any note cards to write a speech. "A speech? What you talking, a speech? I don't really *do* public speaking people". Which is why I have to give my apologies to L & B for my terribly awkward discours - I'm not exactly an off-the-cuff kind of girl.

The other strange bit was being THE single girl at the wedding. It's the first time that's ever happened to me, and there were times where it took me by surprise - it's like sometimes I forget I'm single. But it meant that anything and everything with two legs and a penis was proffered my way over the course of the weekend. B had my list of man criteria en tête and "kindly" went around asking everyone if they corresponded to it. So B, here is my public thanks for that (insert sarcasm here).

But awkwardness aside, I had an absolutely fabulous time, and I hope I can make my way down in that direction again sometime soon!



Blogger Greg said...

Hey, I'm often the designated driver and I live in Bretagne.

Water does make you rust though.

October 20, 2008 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger La Framéricaine said...

Congratulations on a wonderful weekend filled with lots of experiences that put your Bretagne experiences in perspective relative to France and the French as a whole.

It sounds, from you great post, like it was a gratifying experience all the way around!

October 20, 2008 at 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it really is interesting to think of such different reactions to strangers. i've been reading really a wonderful book that i recommend, called The Discovery of France, by Graham Robb. he leads off with the story about how the surveyor sent by Napoleon to map france (for the first time!!!!) was greeted in a tiny mountain hamlet in central france.

they killed him.

so being rude to strangers in the hinterlands is not unheard of.

i wonder though, if this friendly party took place in a city like Nimes, where strangers have been marching thru for millenia....

in any case i'm thrilled you had such a nice time. many happy returns of the day!

October 20, 2008 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger L said...

Yay! I'm so glad you came, and that you got to see different people. And sorry for B trying to set you up with all his single friends. He was only half serious, haha. Thank you so much for being there!

October 20, 2008 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

I've seen both sides of the coin with the drinking here. D is very conservative and I have only seen him drunk twice, most of his friends are the same. When we go home to visit the fanily though...well let's just say my FIL knows how to have a good time!

October 21, 2008 at 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I'm a friend of L&B's, so I popped over here to check out les photos.

You can rest assured that you are not the only single female B has tried to set up with ALL HIS FRIENDS. Every time I talk to him, he asks if I have a copain yet.

And I love B's family. I was living in Nimes (love those photos as well!) a couple years ago, and B's mom gave me all her old pots and pans she didn't need so I could cook at my apartment.

I'll probably read your blog now, because it seems cool. And la France me manque!

October 23, 2008 at 5:50 PM  

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