Sunday, June 28, 2015

French Best Friends

June 18, 2015
I went to yoga Mon night, but got the time mixed up, and I got there 20 min after it started, rather than 10min before, like I thought. So I just walked around town and did some more exploring instead. Tues was an American day, and I went into Nimes and went shopping with Holly. Yesterday I mostly worked. And today I worked in the morning, and then went to the volunteer center to try and find some sort of volunteer activity so I can be involved in the community and speak French! I had emailed and asked, and they told me when to come. I went, and even though, according to the sign posted on the door with the hours, they should be open, alas, they were closed. It said they were open from 2:30-5. I got there at 2:45, so I decided to just stroll around town and come back. I looked at some bookshops and clothes stores, and just people-watched and eavesdropped on conversations, longing to be a part of them. I talked to some people in a bookstore, but it’s hard to have a conversation of more than a few min with strangers. I went back to the volunteer center a little before 4, and they still weren’t open, so I just headed home, bummed. I just want to be a part of France. Why won’t it let me in?

On my walk home, I started thinking about all the ways I make friends and become involved in the community at home. Church. Not in my town. And other churches have services at the same time. School, nope. Work, nope. Yoga, nope again. They moved yoga to the park this week, and the teacher took my email address and said she’d email me, and give me a ride. But it’s Thursday, and I never heard back. :( Another fail.

I am really enjoying being here, walking around the village, and spending time with Holly and her family. I really love them, and love living with them. And I don’t really have to learn French for any reason. It could really be the perfect set-up for anyone, living with a great family in a great spot. But I LOVE learning languages. I love being able to communicate with someone from another country in their language--I love the connection it brings. I love hearing how they phrase things, and learning the idioms that reflect their culture. It really brings me so much joy. And I am so close in French. I can understand so much. I can speak well enough to get my ideas across. And I’m in their country, in one of their quaint little villages, but I just don’t know who to talk to.

I’ve thought a few times that I just need to get over it, and start talking to everyone I see. I’ve done it a few times, but it’s very hard, and I don’t really get to practice much, because a conversation with someone on the street is only going to be long enough to ask directions, or if they have a cigarette or lighter (I've been asked that a few times--so European!). Anyway, I realized that the reason I can’t just get myself to do that is that those sorts of conversations are not fulfilling to me. That’s not the part of the language I love. I am an introvert. I don’t enjoy small talk. Even in a foreign language. I crave heart-to-hearts with people I’ve built a trusting relationship with. And that’s what I crave here, in French. I need some French best friends.

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