From California to Lyon, France: living & studying abroad…and coming back!
Sunday morning, I wake up late morning after a late night of babysitting. I ate breakfast and went back into my room to finally start writing my essay.
…which I put off by watching boyband music videos on YouTube.
BUT after that, I started only to have my brain horribly confused by all the noise downstairs — someone is playing the same chord on the piano over and over, and I hear a mix of voices I don’t recognize.
Thank goodness for noise cancelling headphones and practice living in the dorms — it’s not hard to block out sound anymore.
But it’s a completely different thing when you have to be engaged in the noise! And to me, that’s exatcly what the conversation at lunch was to me: noise. A multitude of French voices all coming together, talking about some topic–or, rather, a mix of multiple topics at the same time; 4 conversations going on at once and I’m not following any of them. Somewhere along the way of the two hour lunch, my brain tries to shut off, tired of the constant struggle of trying understand the chatter.
Then: “Alanna, qu’est-ce que tu pense?”
Uh, what? What do I think? I don’t even know what they’re talking about!
Again: “Qu’est-ce que tu pense?”
I give a blank stare.
Wellll, I’m a fan of Facebook, but it’s not hard to believe given that I’m part of its target demographic. But I know where this conversation is going. At least we know it’s a universal awkward topic of debate across the country. Ah well, I might as well be honest : “J’aime Facebook, c’est normal maintenant!”.
Admittedly I would’ve elaborated that a bit more in English, but that’s going to have to do.
The entrée is finally finished. Now, for the salad and cheese. No one touches either. I’m not sure what the heck I’m doing, so I’m waiting for someone to show me the right thing to do…but no one moves, they keep on talking.
My host mom: “Servez-vous!”
Well, okay, I might as well be the first one to eat, why not? I take some salad. Everyone is still talking so I decide to eat. And then I realize as the salad bowl is being passed around, no one else is eating.
Was I supposed to wait for everyone to serve themselves? So I wait.
Ten minutes pass, and now they’re onto serving themselves cheese; no one else has started to eat. I forget and eat some of my bread, and resist the impulse to place it on my plate.
I decide to eat anyways — I can’t understand anything that’s going on anyways. Someone cracks a joke; everyone starts to laugh. I smile but don’t understand. Then I find out that the word that was part of the joke was slang, and I would have had no chance to get it anyways. So then they commence to explain the joke and the word to me. But as we all know, jokes aren’t funny when you have to explain them. And when three people are trying to explain to you the same thing in a different way at the same time…welll, ça ne marche pas.
Cheese dish is finally finished. Now on to dessert. Talking, talking, talking, no one touches the dessert!
Half an hour passes. Finally people start to get up. They all decide to take a walk, I kindly decline, saying that I have to write my composition.
Just a half an hour, they say.
Non, merci — that was already quite enough for one afternoon!