school party

It’s the ultimate marketing ploy. Make a big deal about the annual release of a new wine and it doesn’t matter that it tastes like crap. People will rush to buy it, have parties and dinners to celebrate it. That’s just how we spent this Friday night. At a school dinner for the Beaujolais nouveau. Yes… in France you can have a school party centered around a wine, with ample amounts of it consumed by anyone older than 16.

Bill had been dreading going to this dinner. Two years ago when I dragged him along we ended up at a table of all French speakers. It didn’t make us terribly fond of the English speakers at the school who clearly abandoned the newbies. It also didn’t make for a night of light and easy conversation. We’re still on friendly “how are you” terms with the couple we were sitting with that night. But Bill was far more anxious to play Wii than to come up with an entire evening of French conversation. (Now that we’ve lived here two years, the expectations would be higher.)

We arrived and immediately attached ourselves to the group of Anglophones who’d gathered. And wherever they went, we followed.. sure to place our glasses of barely drinkable Beaujolais nouveau by theirs at the table. But here’s the thing I started to realized as I talked to others or, more likely, overheard other conversations. Nearly every one of those French parents can speak at least a little English. At least enough for polite conversation. I felt betrayed. All this time spent struggling to figure out how to say anything beyond hello!

We didn’t get around to eating dinner until about 9:00. (I should have had a bigger snack at home! Good thing Kaitlyn’s snack was a bowl of mac&cheese, tomatoes and a pear.) After eating, there was a silent auction on items donated by different families. The hot items would then go to an open bidding format. We bid on a cheesecake, an Indian meal, two dozen home baked cookies every month for the rest of the school year and a weekend away at some place in the south west of France. Everything we bid on went to the open bidding. Everything we bid on we had the highest bid before the open bidding (except the weekend away). We went home empty handed. Sure, I can make cookies and I could learn to make cheesecake and we can go get Indian takeout anytime. But this was for a good cause…

One Response to “school party”

  1. D.A.D. says:

    We’ve witnessed you converse with waitstaff, pharmacists, ticketsellers, and retailers with what appears to be great aplomb. Steer your casual conversations around to discuss what you ate at a restaurant, your favorite aspirin, how you weasled senior prices on a ticket for Kaitlyn, the selection of pink dresses on a discount rack, or what you said to that woman last September who cut in the Carrefour line just because she had already checked out once and you should do fine. After all, who really cares that these party guests think this is a pleasant event or that the weather is nice. What more could barely-speaking English Frenchmen discuss?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.