Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Does 7:35 count as early morning? I woke up at 6am and listened to the radio/read blogs for almost an hour. It first starts getting light at 6am. It doesn't get dark until after 9pm. I've been getting into bed around 22 (10pm) and falling asleep by 23 (11pm). (Still trying to get the hang of the 24hr clock! I need to set myself more to French hours, which start later and end later. Can you believe the post office is open until 7pm? I mean 19.

At 7am I decided I'd take a crack at this morning writing thing, which I've never done. I also decided to wash up first so I could leave the house at 8am and have time for coffee and the walk to French class, which starts at 9am.

I have a schedule! Don't think I haven't been writing. I've made some notes in my paper journal, I just haven't had the energy to transcribe them. I do have a charming story about a boy, though, and since I clearly won't have time for a full-length catch-up entry before I leave for coffee and class, I'll start out with that story and finish up the rest of what I want to write…later.

I heard tell of many free concerts in Paris. In fact, I've seen signs for them all around, including at the church across the street from me (on this Friday!). I'm not a huge classical music aficionado, but there are a few things I like. I searched the web and found a free concert on Sunday at the American Church in Paris: a piano program with some Bach (my favorite), Beethoven and Debussy. Perfect. I got there just before starting time: 17,00 (5pm).

I sat in the very back pew. A little while later (after the music started?), a young (by my standards, probably in his 30s) guy came in and sat in the pew in front of me on the opposite end.

I noticed him because he was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and carrying the blade parts of a pair of roller blades--I wondered what they attached to. I figured he must be American.

We made eye contact a few times and during the intermission, while I read my book, I smiled at him. He got up and sat next to me.

See, I love that part. We made eye contact, we smiled at each other and then he moved over to talk to me. I was hoping he would do that. He got the signal.

We started talking and he asked if I spoke French or Spanish…or English. I said no to French, yes to Spanish, and you know the rest. He was French, much to my surprise, but his English was good (a million times better than my walk-around French) and we had a good chat about stupid Americans and what I was doing in Paris (I get asked that a lot. I think the answer is: living) and that he lived in a town about an hour away from Paris. A woman sitting directly in front of me keep turning around to look at us--but it was the intermission so I believe talking was perfectly appropriate.

Then the music started again. We'd introduced ourselves but hadn't exchanged contact info. I was assuming that would happen after the concert. The fellow, Gregoire (let's call him "Greg"), tore a little piece of paper off of the program and started writing. I tried not to look. I was nervous. I thought he was going to give me his number. I wanted his number. I wanted to give him my number…but he kept writing and writing. I thought maybe the writing had nothing to do with me, it went on so long. And then he handed me the little strip of paper folded in half. On one side was his email address, kindly explaining that the word after "gregoire" was his family name. On the other side was this note:

I've have to go. I have to take my train. But if you want visit off Paris or talk in french you can mail me on...

Charming! No wonder it took him so long to write the note. I couldn't have written a word in French…and I don't think I would have tried.

I was tempted to email him the same evening, but I waited until Monday afternoon. Monday evening, his response came after I went to sleep. Now it's Tuesday--I'm off to class and I'll write him when I get back.

It's very cool that the first French person I met is someone I like. Too bad he lives out of town…but it would be a good excuse to get into the countryside. We'll see.

I'm publishing now because my time for writing is up. More back story later today or tomorrow.

Grateful for: meeting new people.

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