Parlez Vous Boujoulais?

The Nouveau Boujoulais is out… and that means time for parties. It’s a tradition. Or an excuse to get together.  (

We’ve been told the nouveau boujoulais is nothing special. Not good, even. That wasn’t why we decided to go to a nouveau boujoulais soiree held tonight at Kaitlyn’s school. (A school holding a wine party… would never fly in the US.) We went because it was a chance to socialize, even if it means speaking French.

That sounds so good in theory. But when we got there tonight, I was terrified we’d actually have no choice but to speak French ALL NIGHT. What was I thinking????

What a relief when a bunch of ISE’s from Caterpillar were hovering around the door. That bubble burst when we discovered the seats at the English table were all taken. Mind you, three people came in after us and wormed their way into seats at the coveted table. No matter. The chairs we got might as well have been across the Atlantic. All French people. My big, brave idea sure seemed, well, stupid right about then.

I left the table to tend to a Kaitlyn crisis (there were many), and when I got back I heard Bill talking to the man next to him. He introduced me to Pierre. Enchantee, I said. Pierre spoke English. He’s even done some business in Raleigh. I was a wee bit disappointed that I didn’t get to practice my French. So during a lull, I asked the headmistress about Kaitlyn’s teacher. She’s been out for a couple of weeks. Turns out, her foot is broken. Yup, I got all that. Ok, so that’s one sentence, and she said it with some hand gestures, but still I understood. I didn’t get the rest of what she was saying, because it was just so loud in that room. No, really, it was loud!

Anyway, Pierre was very kind and kept talking to us in English. And as the evening wore on, I decided to just go ahead and throw out some of my bad French. He not only understood it, mostly, but he encouraged me to keep doing it! What was he thinking? It was like telling Pandora, “sure, open that box, no biggie.”

I bored him with my French about watching football and eating too much on Thanksgiving, although I was completely unable to come up with a translation for Thanksgiving. I wowed him with my ability to tell him that I like… what did I say I like? I don’t even remember. I have no idea what French I tried to babble. But he was so very, very nice to listen to it and to keep on talking to me despite it!

At one point, it was as if Pierre had actually read a page out of my French lessons… word for word he asked me a sentence that I learned just this week… a sentence my teacher said would be very, very used. I knew how to answer, just not in French. But at least I knew what he was asking. (He asked what we normally do on the weekends. I barely had an answer in English, then we agreed that we haven’t been here long enough to come up with a “normally” yet. Whew)

How was the boujoulais? Don’t know. We didn’t even try any. You had to buy a bottle of wine there (I’d forgotten that part) and Bill thought all the bottles were boujoulais. That would only make sense at a boujoulais party. Not so. Although, one of the ISE’s who did buy a boujoulais wandered over to our table to tell us to be glad we had something different in our glasses. Maybe. But in the end, we were glad we had something other than English at our table.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.