Monday, October 16, 2006

French weddings.

This past weekend, I attended my first French wedding. In France, couples can have 2 ceremonies. The first one is the civil ceremony that takes place at the mayor's office. This is the official, "You're now man and wife", ceremony. Then you can have another ceremony which can be held at a place of worship or other location. Darin pointed out that it just goes to show you how secular this country is. You don't have to have a rabbi or priest or religious individual officiate your wedding. You can do whatever the heck you want to do. Our friends had their civil ceremony during the summer. This past weekend, they rented a gite in the middle of a beautiful mountain range to house the ceremony, reception, Sunday morning breakfast, and the friends who stayed the night. It was a very pretty, quaint, fall-themed wedding. The wedding ceremony was conducted by the bride's oldest brother who said a few words and then had other brothers and sisters and friends of the groom or bride say a few words. We had hors-d'oeuvres for a couple hours and then dinner went from 7:30 - 12:30 (!!!). The longest dinner I've ever attended. We'd eat and drink and then there would be dancing then more eating and drinking and then dancing. It was could enjoy every bite and drop and then burn the calories to make room for the next course.

At one point during the meal, the guy sitting next to me asked me if I like French cheese. I answered that I loved it and then proceeded to share with him that I also love cheese fondue (gotta practice the language, okay?). He responded with, "quoi?" So, I repeated myself maybe two more times yet he still looked at me like he didn't understand what I was saying. Ugh. I turned to Darin and asked, "How (the heck) do you pronounce 'fondue'?" I then pronounced it correctly and then did the guy understand what I was saying. What made it all the more embarrassing was that everyone sitting around him was listening to me try to spit the sentence out.

I'm finding it VERY difficult to converse with others (i.e. French folks I meet). Trying to speak French to a new person or group of people feels like when I was back in school and had to do a presentation in front of the entire class. You're in the spotlight and everyone's looking at you. Don't screw up! It's nerve-wracking and embarrassing and scary. You really have to put yourself out there. Like when my dad taught me how to ride a bicycle and finally let go of the bike and the rest was up to me. Eek! My easy way out of this madness? Remain silent, but that can get boring. And then that leads to people being scared to approach me because they don't know if they should talk in French or English. And those who feel their English is not so great will not try to talk to me at all.

By the way, Darin corrected me in that this past August he and I hiked to refuges and NOT gites (rhymes with "sheets"). A refuge is a hut that cannot be accessible by car. A gite is accessible by car. Voila.

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