Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17, 2011: Grenoble - Happy St. Paddy's, Open House en francais, Traduction, Work, True Grit

Today I wore green for St. Patrick's. Since I was going to be my first French-only Open House coffee chat, I figured it would give me a conversational topic that I could practice ahead of time ("aujourd'hui je porte la couleur de la journée St Patrick"). And I pulled it off just fine - it led to a discussion of St. Patrick's Day in France - sounds like it's more of a kid's thing here - adults don't really celebrate it. And then that led to a discussion about our family backgrounds, and whether any of us had any Irish in us (not really, although I might a little). All in all the French-only chat was pretty good as a language lesson - the native French speakers in the group treat it as an opportunity to provide grammar and pronunciation correction for us English speakers and to explain unfamiliar vocabulary. At times the conversation amongst the French speakers got a little too rapid and I lost track, but I could usually catch the gist of it. After two hours I was feeling like I'd had a good mental work-out.

On the way home I dropped off Mark's documents to get translated, during which I easily found the office (behind the Ste Claire market), zipped in just before the noon-hour closing time and conducted virtually the entire transaction in French ("Je voudrais une traduction pour deux documents..."). I think that having just done two hours of French conversation gave me a confidence boost that I could handle whatever came my way.

And for a short while this afternoon I had work! Just a small proof-reading job, but it was a nice change of pace to have a deadline. In fact, I actually had to turn down an offer of an outing - one of the Open House members who lives near our apartment stopped by spontaneously in the afternoon to see if I wanted to join two of them for shopping, but I was still in the midst of work. It's interesting that in Washington DC I never made a point of joining any social groups, but here I have - but if it weren't for the language barrier, I probably wouldn't have bothered. And yet it's nice to have other people to interact with. France is forcing me to be more outgoing.

For supper I roasted our Hubbard squash, potatoes and brussels sprouts, and made an omelette with fresh chives (an addition to the window mini-garden), thyme and Morbier cheese. I served it all up with mini-beer! For a change I picked up beer from the Monoprix, and didn't realize until I got home how tiny the bottles were.

After dinner we went to a nearby movie theatre to see True Grit (in English, with French subtitles). The theatre was quite small (there was really no lobby, so the line stretched outside - and since there wasn't much of a sidewalk, the line stretched across the street; the street was more of a laneway than a proper road, but we still had to keep moving for cars coming through). I hadn't realized it was a Coen brothers film. It wasn't as quirky as some of their others, but it was quirkier than your usual western, which I liked. And you have to love a movie that's as ambitious in preserving elaborate dialogue as this one.

The mini-beer. I should have been holding one in my hand for scale purposes!

No comments:

Post a Comment