October 4, 2007

Friend audition, take one!

Posted in Les français at 11:10 am by Lauren

I have to say, I love that term. But it’s not mine, nor do I think it’s even Shari’s (who told it to me). I think it goes back one more degree. But friend audition is the perfect description for what Allen and I did on Monday night.

I’ve become much more socially ept since high school, but I still consider myself somewhat antisocial. I can count on one hand the people I’ve met and become friends with because I had the guts to randomly approach them. In fact, I can count them on one finger. (Hi, Adam! Did you know that?) So normally the way I prefer to meet new people is while I’m surrounded by people I already know. One or two new ones for the five or six that I’m well acquainted with, all interacting together.  Unfortunately, I can’t operate like that here because we don’t even know five people in Paris.

I really wanted to meet some French people while we’re living in Paris. During my last year in France, I was exposed to a lot of French but barely spoke it. It creates quite the bond between you and the other expats that you cling to for familiarity, but it doesn’t do much for your fluency. And while I wouldn’t trade the friendships I made in Montpellier for anything, this time I’m determined to improve my French while I’m here. So I gave myself a pep talk and put an ad on craigslist. I proposed a French-English exchange with a couple (equal footing) and listed some of the activities Allen and I like. (That was kind of hard because I’ve realized we watch a lot of TV. And we also enjoy walking around and talking.)

We got three responses! Everybody sounded really nice, so we set up a meeting with Couple # 1 for Monday night. They picked the place (Hall’s Beer Tavern) and the time (9 pm). We tend to go to bed around 10 or 11, but we thought we’d be flexible and said we’d be there.

When Monday night came around, we got a little case of cold feet because it looked like rain. But the sky wasn’t convincing enough, so we went. We were afraid we wouldn’t be able to figure out who our new friends were, but we found Antoine and Typhaine standing outside the closed Hall’s Beer Tavern. So we went down the block to an Irish pub and found a seat.

When we went inside it was nearly empty, but they were doing pub quiz. I’m a bit more used to standing-room-only Fado pub quizes! We were speaking in French, but pub quiz was in English, but none of the four of us could really understand the Irish guy’s accent to begin with. It was a mess, but it helped to break the ice. Antoine works in IT at a bank, and Typhaine works in fashion at “a firm that is somewhat well known: Chanel.” Allen and I got a good laugh at her sheepish explanation of that.

We talked about things like French media’s false promotion of rugby as the national pastime, Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction (fun to try to translate that euphemism), parallels between both couples and the celebrity couple of Tony Parker and Eva Longoria, and why the French president’s jogging really gets on their nerves. At the end, someone asked what we wanted to do next time we got together, and somehow we all determined we wanted to go to the Cimitiere Père Lachaise. All in all, a good exercise in getting out of your comfort zone with a couple who turned out to be really nice. Exuent blog.

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1 Comment »

  1. Shari said,

    Hmm…maybe WE should try Craig’s List.


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