Another week of schoolwork and classes quickly passes by and with it another weekend to enjoy. After ending my week on a sour note of a stressful Thursday on which I incorrectly set my alarm and nearly missed my 9 a.m. class at Paris VII – my host mom woke me at 8:30, wondering if I had class, at which point I rushed out the door to catch the metro and ended up only 15 minutes late – and became discouraged by my translation course, the weekend was a welcome escape.
And escape I did, mostly from the French language. I hardly spoke it this weekend, and barely even heard it around me, which would seem difficult considering I am living in the preeminent French-speaking country in the world.
I spent Saturday strolling the designer-store-lined streets around the Champs-Elysées and near the U.S. embassy, where tourists abound, especially on a Saturday. Later, I braved the crowded Champs-Elysées shops with friends. There, we encountered all nationalities, including an adorable German child who applauded Alix’s lip-synched rendition of the Chris Brown song blaring over the United Colors of Beneton sound system and an American tourist, who happened to be a professor at Grand Valley State (small world), with his family. Very minimal amounts of French were spoken and even less was heard.
Sunday was no different as Rachel, Rebecca and I visited Montmartre for a street festival. All nationalities were again represented, including the older British man, who during a particularly log-jammed moment in the crowd remarked rather loudly, “The bloke behind me has a large belly!” The knowing look of the man behind him, who clearly also spoke English, was priceless.
My host mom was even in la campagne for the weekend so I lacked Francophone interactions with her. When you add on my time Skyping to those back home (brother, boyfriend, mom, dad) and my guilty-pleasure screenings of Project Runway and Freaks and Greeks, my “plus-français-que-les-Français [more-French-than-the-French]” program director would be appalled.
Not to say that my weekend was a bust. I had a fabulous time swimming amongst the crowds, profiting from the fantastic and unseasonably warm weather and catching up on American pop culture.
Plus, I tried a new pastry. What could be more French than that?