The Anti-Social

The only response so far to my request for inspiration comes from Jez, who very sensitively would like to know why I don't have any friends.

Okay, okay, that's not exactly what he suggested. I am to write on the inaccessibility of the French.

Part of the problem here, I will admit, is the inaccessibility of the srah. Srah, being someone rather uninterested in sports or music, does not have many ways to reach out to the French. She can't think of any clubs she'd like to join, as her interests lie in more solitary pursuits such as reading and the Internet. She is also not one to strike up conversations with strangers in the street and prefers sitting in a bar or caf and chatting with friends until midnight to going to a bote at midnight (also known as "bedtime" in srah-land) and getting her groove on.

There is also the fact that she is not alone. She is lucky enough to have two other Americans and the other non-French assistants who are going through many of the same things and so therefore have things in common to discuss. None of them know any French people either, so they all hang together.

This safety net of other assistants, however, is nearly as detrimental as it is helpful. Srah is not forced to meet French people because she already has friends. The other assistants are doing the same thing and are patient with her sometimes incomprehensible French because they have the same problems. With friends like that, who needs the French, who sometimes laugh or don't want to wait for a sentence to slowly form itself is srah's bouche?

Hanging around with other foreigners, even when the common language is French, is comfortable and easy. But what everyone should be doing, especially in a foreign culture, is looking for challenges and not taking the easy way out.

Vichy is a particular case. There is a small university campus in town and I am told that students study there, but they are nowhere to be seen, especially on the weekends when srah and friends do not work and can go French-hunting. They go home for the weekend and we are left with les vieux.

My second-year BTS students invited me out with them once, but I wasn't particularly glowing and charming, so I don't suppose I'll be asked again. It was one of those situations where the conversation moves too fast for me to participate, so I just listen and watch along, as though I were watching a tennis match. As a result, I only spoke when I was spoken to and was not a particularly thrilling companion.

Well, that's about all I can say on that subject. I have come to no conclusion except that EVERYTHING seems to be against me meeting the French and that I should probably spend more time hanging around the school, so that I can have conversations of a professional nature with other teachers, without the pressure of socialization.

srah - Sunday, 1 December 2002 - 12:53 PM
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Comments (1)

gravatar Jez - July 27, 2004 - 11:02 PM -

Har - I remember this!

Just poking around in your archives :)

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