My first real French family dinner
Yesterday morning I went to the CAF office with every piece of paperwork I have to make a dossier for the assistance with my rent payments. I had everything I needed luckily, and the nice lady said they'll notify my landlord in 10 days about how much/whether I get it, and the first payment will be the beginnign of December so fingers crossed for that.
At 4.30pm yesterday, Nathalie picked me up outside the poste in her big people carrier to go and have dinner with her family. En route back to their house we picked up Maise, 12, and Clemence, 15, and his 2 friends from a fencing workshop, and stopped off at Leclerc for some supplies. It was funny being back in the middle of a manic family, in the next few hours at home we cooked dinner, Clemence's friends were picked up, Anna, 16, arrived home. Maise studied in America for a year aged 10, and Anna had spent 2 months there this summer, and they both told me all about that and showed me their big photo albums. Clemence was a typical teenage boy, and had done a similiar thing in Germany. The mum was so friendly and kind; shes very interested in language exchanges etc, and wants to set up more help for the assistants in Perigueux to meet French people etc, in families. She said if I was American she would have invited me to stay for Christmas! She said to just give them a call if I ever want something, need to see a doctor etc. They've lent me some French DVDs, and it does sound like I'll be invited to join them to do something again sometime. I hope so, it was nice and brilliant for my French!
A bit later their other dinner guests arrived; it was the inspector of the Dordogne that I'd met at the aperitifs, his wife, and daughter. And they also brought along the youngest of the family, the girl I teach, Blanche 9, who had been staying with them. When I saw her in her family like that I realised how young she was, and she's in my best (and one of my oldest) classes...made me think maybe I've just been expecting too much from my pupils. Anyway we cracked open the apertif (a very sweet local wine) and pringles at about 8.30 as the Dad, Paul, an architect came home from work. Their house was lovely, old and they'd done a lot of work on it; the best bit was the real wood fire, sooooo good. Also enjoyed the sofas, was nice to be in a proper home, but made me miss mine! Can't wait for Christmas!
There was a hilarious moment just after the guests arrived (remember this was after kissing everyone and saying hello):
Nathalie: So, we've got to know Lucy a bit
Inspector: Lucy who?
Very awkward silence, children laugh a bit
Inspector: But Lucy who?
Inspector looks around...
Lucy: C'est moi
Everyone bursts into laughter, and he looks very embarrassed, bearing in mind he had already met me at the aperitifs thing, had been told I was going to be there and had kissed me!
His wife was friendly and works at a University so said she would try and establish links for us to be involved with their student union organised activities. Would be good to meet some real Frenchies, and said she may be able to set up some language exchanges with the students who are going to go abroad to England on Erasmus and want to improve their English.
Dinner was 4 different delcious home-made quiches and salad. Followed by the yummiest chocolate tarts and icecream, with come good wine. And then we retreated back to the lovely warm sitting room for a coffeee. It was all very enjoyable but when we finally left at 11.50pm I won't deny I was pretty shattered.
Off to Montpon this afternoon.