Today was Tuesday, and tonight we had a little fête with CIEE. It was (most of) the students and their families. Michel and Elisabeth went for I believe a grand total of about 15 minutes. I was really confused. One minute I was running in the door with them to get out of the rain, the next I was finding my friends and trying to figure out the etiquette for introducing (do you leave your parents where they are? Do you introduce your friends right away? Do you stay with them? I don’t know!!!!), and the next they were just gone. Vanished. Michel did have his atelier artist workshop thing tonight, but it doesn’t start until 20h30, and the aperitif started at 19h00!! We had even gotten there early but stayed in the car for 15 minutes while they waited to see if the rain would let up.
I think this was the French in them. I was totally all about just running for it. But no, we had to wait. Haha…I found it pretty amusing.
[sidenote written later: I found out that he had to be early cause he and his painter peeps are getting ready for a 120-person show really soon. He asked me why the other Saint Grégoire families hadn't shown up. When he asked me, I had no idea. I found out today that Sophia's family "forgot" that it was on Tuesday night, and that Jessica's family were "too tired" to go)
Jess and Johanna and I wore our sundresses to the party. Most everyone else was in jeans. We didn’t care, though. Got a great “what are you wearing?” French look of wonder from Michel, though. That was fun.
Staci and Andrew had asked us to write a couple lines about what we think of our families. I wrote mine last night and emailed it to Staci, and everyone’s stuff was read out loud to the group (anonymously, of course, and they had the native French speakers read them, so besides everybody’s horrible grammar they sounded amazing!). It was a very strange feeling to hear something I’d written get applause, and it was even stranger to see Staci and Andrew shaking their heads (you know, the good shake, the ‘wow’ head shake) and saying to one another that it had been really good.
We hung out for a while, talked to Mark’s and Collin’s parents, and I encouraged Collin’s host brother to keep messing around. He was dodging around and tapping people’s shoulders, then hiding. I joined in the game when he was around our group. I think Collin wanted to kill me. Haha. He didn’t want kids in his French family. I still wish I had gotten some, but oh well. It turned out well.
Mark’s mom invited us officially to her home on French Mother’s day. Mark’s making steak and stuff, and he had already asked us to come over and to make dessert. I didn’t know that it was Mother’s Day here, though, and all of a sudden I’m wondering if I should be going or not. I mean, I know that if I stay here Elisabeth probably still won’t let me do anything to help her. It’s like they’re afraid of us Americanizing their clean floors, seriously, I don’t get it. I actually MISS doing my own laundry!!! What is up with that?
So I’ll have to watch Elisabeth's reaction when I say I’ve been invited somewhere on a Sunday. I hope it’s ok. It’s not like she’s my real mother, but she is kinda…there… all the time. Then again, something I just thought of, I'm totally going to be home for dinner, the thing is simply for lunch. Haha I guess we all really suck at this whole French etiquette thing. Even Jessica is wondering if she should be staying at home for lunch, and her host parents don't even really include her in things! Well, I mean, they do, but they don't at the same time.
It's so complicated. One minute she feels really included and like she can actually talk and not be afraid, and the next she feels like the last person in the world they want in their home is her.