I had a very busy, wonderful Saturday.
In the morning, we watched the Rugby World Cup between France and Tongo -- France lost by quite a lot. I must have been the bad luck because I've never watched a full rugby match in my life.
Then after having delicious steak-frites for lunch, the dad, children, and I went down to les Gorges de l'Ardeche because the mom was canoeing to train up for a canoeing marathon in a few months. We went down by the water and although they did their best to convince me that diving in the freezing water was good for the heart, I could only stand to put my legs in just to my knees -- la riviere etait trop trop froide! The scene did make for some pretty photos though.
While we waited for the mom to finish canoeing, we played "mimes" (charades) and I did a commendable job of pantomiming various "metiers" (professions) and animals. Luckily I haven't needed to resort to charades too much in communicating with my host family. I'm sure my grammar is horrendous, but being surrounded by French every day has definitely brought back a lot of vocabulary I had forgotten since I finished taking French classes.
Shortly after getting back to the house, we all cleaned up to drive to Aubenas for the opening concerts of the venue where the dad used to work a couple of years ago. On our way there, we also stopped by the home of some family friends. Every person I've met through my host family has been incredibly kind and generous, even going so far as to compliment my timid French. Who ever accused the French of being rude?
We stopped at a cafe briefly before heading to the concert and I met the conseiller pedagogique for Ardeche, the person in charge of the English assistants in my department. I wouldn't have ordinarily met him before heading to Privas this Monday for a meeting, but he happens to be a close family friend of my host family and the godfather of their son. On the first night of my arrival, he called my host family's house to make sure that I arrived safely and to tell me, "Welcome to France!" He spoke more English (at least with more ease) than the majority of people I have met so we switched back and forth between the two while talking about preparations for Monday, English immersion, and how to say cauliflower in English, etc. -- you know, the really important stuff.
We all went inside for the first concert, a group called Slow Joe and the Ginger Accident. The leader is a rather elderly man from India backed up by a group of somewhat ginger-headed young men. The style was a bit of rockabilly with an occasional hint of Pink Floyd, The Black Keys, and one a cappella rendition of "Embraceable You." The group sang and spoke to the audience almost entirely in English; there was a constant murmur of "Qu'est-ce qu'il a dit?" ("What did he say?") and I'm betting I was the only one to notice the mistaken lyrics of "Embraceable You." It was a nice change to feel like I was one of the few to understand everything going on around me for once. Here's a little sample of the group's rockabilly style:
And a much better quality video that I found on youtube:
Then there was a band called Pneu with a guitarist and drummer that played outside. Not gonna lie, it was definitely not my style and it didn't appear that my host family was too crazy about it either, particularly the children with their hands covering their ears:
We drove back to Bourg-St-Andeol before the third concert started. Everyone else in the car (besides the driver of course) fell asleep since an hour long drive seems long to the French; not so for us Arizonans! I loved going down the winding roads and looking at the stars through the window.
Not too much has happened today. I went to the Carrefour (their Wal-Mart equivalent and the only supermarket open on Sundays) with the mom and daughter to do some shopping and we had salmon for lunch. A relaxing Sunday after a busy Saturday.
Tomorrow I'll be heading to Privas for an orientation day and then Tuesday I'll be at one of my schools during the day to start to plan out how I'll manage to be at all three of my assigned schools during the upcoming weeks. I'm excited to start working and be a little more busy.
Miss and love you all!