Monday, March 9, 2009

Life in two languages (La vie dans les deux langues)

About a year and a half ago, C & L bought the magical (eight bedroom, three and a half bath) house two doors down here on Rue Ferlus in which I stayed as a guest in 2002 when I first came to Soreze and started to feel at home in the village. It is called “L’Art Vivant”, so named by Carole Watanabe, a painter from Sebastopol, CA. Just about all of the original paintings and murals on the walls created by Carol are still in place. C & L live in Normandy. They and their five children use the house for vactions, the rest of the time it is rented as a “gîte” (furnished vacation house typically in a rural region of France).
Visit Maison de l'Art Vivant

I invited C&L to dinner along with the daughter who was here with them, Charlotte, and her friend, Marine, both 15 years old. C & L are great about requiring me to speak only French and kindly correcting me as we go along. I made a chicken pot pie with biscuit crust (using a poulet roti from the Revel market), salad with the famous green dressing and apple crisp with cream (roughly translated: tourte au poulet dans une casserole, salade avec le sauce secret, dessert crumble de pommes à la crème). L liked the pot pie, especially les petits pois, C was a fan of the salad, the girls ate polite portions of pot pie and dessert and we all had a comfortable evening.

The next day was cool but sunny. On prompting from C to get both the girls and I out of the house, Charlotte, Marine and I rode our bikes from Soreze to Revel through the countryside, about 14 km or 8.7 miles round trip. It was the first time out on bikes in Soreze for them and for me, but L provided us with a map and we managed to find la petite route through a little, old village, La Garigol.

With a bit of help from une vieille dame out on her walk, “à gauche, à droite, sur le pont, à gauche et puis tout droit dans Revel” (to the left, to the right, over the bridge, to the left and then straight on into Revel), and merrily singing “Sur le pont de Revel, on y danse, on y danse, tous en rond”, we wheeled into Revel center where we stopped at the café. I had une grande cafe creme et les jeunes filles une boisson de sirop de fraise avec eau gazeuse (me coffee with milk and the girls, strawberry syrup with sparkling water). I practiced my French and they, a bit timidly at first, their English before winding our way back home.
We had a nice exchange of language through the rest of the week, with a couple of funny moments around “shewruum” sounding like “shroom” and me thinking L was talking about mushrooms when he was telling me about a show room for a local vegetarian manufacturer. And Charlotte asking me if I’d like a “Ginee lemon” and me thinking that she was offering me a mixed cocktail before dinner instead of a "Gini", Perrier’s version of bitter lemon soft drink. By the end of the week, I was dreaming in French, certainement un bon signe (surely a good sign).

A+ (à plus = see you soon)

1 comment:

swallowtail said...

Oh yes, an A+ for you, and I am wishing for some of that pot pie and the salad oh secret! Yum. What a fun day! The tulips are gorgeous. You should hear the redshouldered hawks sqealing through today. I am wondering which palm tree they are deciding upon for their castle...seems to be up for debate. The sunshine is a welcome change, though we are still in pray-for-rain mode! And neighbor Jim called and told me he saw an oriole today! wow. So, hugs and smootches to you! xoxoLC

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