Monday, June 22, 2015

State of the French Learner Address: June 15-21

lundi, 15 juin
On Monday, Asami hung around all day as I worked. I had plans to get picked up near the train station at 17:30 for a ride to ultimate (instead of taking the tram). Damien happened to be in Montpellier that afternoon, so he’d offered to give a ride to me and Johanna (a girl who signed up to play for the first time). Since Asami wanted to stay in Montpellier another night and hadn’t found a place, I said she could stay with me again that night, but that I had to leave the house at 5:10 to catch this ride.

Ultimate was fun, we were four: Damien, Johanna, Thibaut and myself. Johanna is from Finland and wants to hang out on Friday. Thibaut gave Johanna and I a ride back to Montpellier afterwards.

mardi, 16 juin
Asami stayed around again today, and once again it was just a regular day of work. She made plans to leave Montpellier tomorrow, so I offered to let her stay another night. At 7 p.m. I went to GoLingo—always a good time! Afterwards I got crepes with some Frenchies from GoLingo: Damien, Romeric and Benjamin. When I got home around midnight, Asami was home and just getting in. Turns out she had gone to Nimes on a whim when she was at the train station that evening!

mercredi, 17 juin
Asami left in the afternoon, and I continued to work out on the patio. That afternoon Damien made plans with me for that evening—we were going to eat les moules frites (mussels and fries) in Grande-motte, which is on the coast, a bit up from where we play ultimate frisbee.

On the way there, Damien asked if I had plans on Sunday (nope) and if I wanted to come to his grandpa’s house for lunch (Father’s Day). He’d have to check with them first to make sure it’s okay, but he’d wanted to see if I was free in the first place. He spent three months in Ireland this spring, and said he knows what it’s like to be a foreigner on holidays and such, and how rare it is to be at family events, so he thought of inviting me. Oh, and get this—his grandpa (and parents) are Spanish! So I really hope that works out, because it sounds like it’d be a good time.

It was a really excellent dinner filled with great conversation.

jeudi, 18 juin
Today I had a regular day of work. In the evening, Damien came over for dinner and a movie. He brought a bunch of stuff: tielle, which is a specialty from Sète—a city not far from Montpellier—consisting of a pie stuffed with squid, octopus, and cuttlefish, mixed with spicey tomato sauce (pictured on the two plates below); ham and melon (nice combo, try it out!); two different cheeses (cheese is its own course in France); and perhaps something else that I'm forgetting.

And I’d made a simple bruschetta (small plate, middle of table) and these cucumber guacamole chip things (highly recommended, though I'm not finding the exact recipe right now).

vendredi, 19 juin
Regular day of work at home today, listening to the radio station “Chante France” (French music) as I edited per usual. Damien came over that evening and we made croc monsieur (grilled ham and cheese, but baked instead of grilled) to bring to the park where we were meeting up with friends from ultimate. Johanna and Thibaut were there, and I’d invited Romeric from GoLingo as well.

Later on my Italian friend Alessandro (from French class) and his friend stopped by. We played Mölkky, which is a pretty nice Finnish yard game.

You set up these cylinders that have different numbers on them. At the start, they're all pushed together in a big clump (the below photo was after several rounds of play).

If you knock over a bunch of cylinders, your team gets one point for each cylinder. If you knock over just one cylinder, you get the point value of that cylinder. Your team has to reach exactly 50 points to win—no going over—so the opposing team can strategically make it harder for the winning team, depending on which cyinders you try to knock over.

samedi, 20 juin
I finished up some work in the morning, and then Damien picked me up at 3pm to go hiking at Pic Saint Loup, just a bit outside of Montpellier. The weather was great, I really enjoyed being out and about moving, climbing, and then enjoying the views.

By the time we got back down, it was going on 8:30, although it felt like 5 p.m. He’d told his cousin we’d go to his house at 9, so we were definitely late. We stopped at my apartment to shower and change, then picked up some drinks and chips and drove to his cousin’s apartment. He had a bunch of friends over, so it was fun to put my French to the test.

Damien and I were both super tired though, and didn't stay too late (Tried leaving sometime after midnight and got talked into staying until 1). Plus, the Father's Day lunch was the next day (yes, I was going for sure now!), so we needed sleep.

dimanche, 21 juin
We stopped at the grocery store on the way to Damien’s grandpa’s house to pick up some wine and other odds and ends. His grandpa made paella (Spanish rice dish), and it was delicious. His cousin was there, so it was neat we’d met the day before. His parents and aunts and uncles were so nice and welcoming. After lunch, Damien’s cousin was headed to the beach with friends and asked if we wanted to come along.

We’d brought our suits, towels, and sunscreen just in case, so we headed to the beach for a few hours and met up with lots of Damien's cousin's friends. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but this is the first time in my life where I’ve lived so close to a beach. When I lived in Madrid, I thought it was so cool that I could just hop on a bus, and three hours later be on the coast for a relaxing weekend at the beach. Well, here it's totally surreal to just hop in a car and go to the beach—no prep—for a few hours.

We’d told Johanna and Tiboult that we’d meet them at 9 p.m. in Montpellier for the music festival that night, so around 8 p.m. we went to Damien’s parent’s house so we could shower, and then we ended up eating dinner there (leftover paella—yum!) before driving back to Montpellier.

I don’t know why the music festival was scheduled and planned for a Sunday night, but it was pretty cool. There were stages all over the city, and bars had DJs and live music too. The streets were alive! I only wish I hadn't been so tired. We ended the night at an Irish bar that had a really awesome Irish group playing inside.

I never thought I'd be so busy once my class ended, but it was full week of go-go-go, with a new relationship developing by the end of it.

The state of the French learner is strong!

State of the French Learner: June 8-14
State of the French Learner: June 1-7 
State of the French Learner: May 25-31
State of the French Learner: May 18-24

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