How to Walk in France, Rule 2

Another thing I’ve noticed:

2. Large families should always walk in straight lines that effectively block the entire pathway, so as to enjoy the conversation of those they love most.  It is a sign of affection to put the elderly, or otherwise less-mobile, on the left side of your group, and to slow down the family’s pace to match grandma.  And don’t mind her zig-zag walk – that’s what old people like to do, and they should be left to their own (de)vices.  When others who try to pass from behind, or when those who approach from the front, are blocked, never mind their lack of access; after all, your family’s conversation (and grandma’s staggering) is of utmost importance.

How to Walk in France, Rule 1

I’ve been noticing that French people have different rules for walking than do Americans.  This shouldn’t be surprising, but I expected their tendencies on a pathway to be more regimented than, say, Kenyans’.  Wrong.  Here’s number one:

1. Walk on the side of the pathway that suits your current whim.  Never mind that cars must always stay to the right side of a road; such rules do not apply to sidewalks, supermarket aisles, or any other pedestrian clearing.

More to come…

Being W.

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So this isn’t going to be my only post today, but I saw an advert for the movie “Dans la peau de George W. Bush” (“In the Skin of George W. Bush”) in the local paper and had to post about it.  I haven’t been able to watch the trailer yet, but it seems it will be a nice French commentary on the last 8 years of American administration.

You can find the film’s site at www.beingw.tv along with a trailer – let me know what your impressions are.

Pardonnez-Moi, Les Bretons

To all the Bretons out there that I lumped in the same French bucket as the Parisians (sauf toi, Vincent) that we all have in our heads, I’m very sorry. It turns out that you are a wonderful race of people that don’t think that I’m an idiot just because I’m American and don’t speak much French. Thanks for being nice and dealing with my attempts to speak your language, however feeble they might be.

Today was a good day in that I ran about the town with the international students coordinator looking for an apartment (and probably found a great one) and how to get myself officially part of the French système. There’s more to come on that front this Wednesday, so I’ll update you then. However, I’m glad that the Lord has put me in a spot where He has taken care of me like I didn’t believe He was going to. And, as a nice nudge, my reading brought me to the following verse in Ephesians.  I’ll leave it with you as I wish you bonne nuit.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

Je suis en France

I made it here in one piece, and so did my luggage luckily.

So I’m in France now and mulling over what the next few years of my life are going to look like. As you can tell, I’ve been quite busy with my preparations – so much so that I haven’t written a blog post in about 6 weeks. Trying to learn French, save up some money, and reduce my life down to two suitcases is hard work, trust me.

My trip here was pretty good, starting out on a leg from Washington National to Miami where I was lucky enough to get bumped up to First. Some wine helped my jitters and the salmon salad sufficed for my midday snack/meal (you know how I eat).

Three hours in Miami went by quickly with last-minute calls and texts to family and then I was off to Madrid. A crying two-year-old in the aisle ahead of me didn’t help to get me to bed immediately, but the flight attendant recognized my trouble and offered me some more wine on the house despite being in coach on that leg (that was the Kyle discount – Joe, Dad, you know about that).

After three pleasant hours of speaking Spanish at Barajas, I boarded my last flight to Rennes and met a lovely French lady who was quite quiet until I tried out my “peu de français” and did alright for myself. She wished me “bon voyage” at our parting and was a nice, welcoming face for my new homeland.

Finally, I got myself to Vannes, met my advisor at the train station and went off to the lab to get an idea of where I would be working and with whom. I have to say that the people there at the lab were less than celebratory at my arrival, though I don’t mean to say I expected a party or anything; however, an offer to show me around would have been appreciated if nothing else. Nonetheless, my lab-mates seem to be smiley young people with varying degrees of English knowledge that I hope I can take advantage of (working my way across the gradient as I improve in my own knowledge of French).

For now, I leave all my friends with a far-off “hello” saying that I already miss you all. Please keep me in your prayers that the Lord may bless the friendships that I am about to make, and that He will mature them to that which I enjoy with all of you. I’m guessing that I’ll be updating this often over the next little while, so stay tuned for pictures and more stories.

Blessings to you all. Allez, bon week-end! (my first colloquial French)