vendredi 13 octobre 2006

I admit it, Frenchwomen intimidate me. Besides Alain's family and the girlfriends/wives of his friends, I know no frenchwomen. I guess it isn't all that surprising since I spent the last year at a all-foreign students school learning French and haven't been in a club or office setting where I would meet them.
But I think it is something more than that. When living in another country, I think there is a natural tendency to gravitate first towards others of your own nationality. As I know zero Americans in Marseille, I can't do that here. There is the Association of American Wives of Europeans, but that is mostly based in Paris. I am on their email list and chat boards, but it isn't the same as knowing them in person.
After that, I think people try to meet other foreigners. In a foreign country, other foreigners are in the same boat as you are- trying to learn the language, the customs and social graces. Don't want to make a fool of yourself mumbling something unintelligible to a group of Frenchwomen while wearing the wrong scarf. When I was studying in England for a semester, I hung out with 2 French, 1 Greek, 1 Italian, 1 Mauritanian, and 1 Zimbabwian. Instead of the other native English speaking (well, sorta) English! I guess we just understood each other better and all wanted to do touristy stuff, like visit Oxford instead of JUST drink beer there.
The final step is to make friends with the natives of whatever country you are in. It is more difficult to make myself understood because those who are used to the way I phrase things and my accents (God bless Alain's parents) understand what I am trying to say. Those who don't have "the ear" for my accent, such as those damn R's which I don't think I will get, keep asking what? what?
So just now I am starting to make tentative steps to meet frenchwomen. So far it has consisted of meeting one girl (today) to possibly go running together from time to time. How did I meet her you ask? Well, I have been posting bad-grammar messages on French chat boards, looking for people to go running together, hang out. (Yes, I do feel like a desperate loser. Please be my friend!) Unsurprisingly, the people who have responded have been those who have some sort of interest in English/the USA/living abroad, etc. No no! I want to practice my French! If I do get a job here eventually, I suppose I will meet more people.

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