This week was a reminder of how grateful I am to be in sunny Nice. The wonderful weather, excellent food, fresh veggies and fruits, local olives and cheese, and baguettes that cannot be replicated outside of France. Today I want to recognize the warmth and generosity of the people.
When I arrived, I knew no one, and if I am generous, spoke un petit peu French. I will always be thankful I wore my Converse shoes on market day that introduced me to my first French friend. Three other friends and I celebrated her birthday, complete with the candle that shoots sparks that the French love to put on a cake. In this case it was on a a wonderful chocolate dessert (to be featured in an upcoming Favourite Restaurants, Cafes, Boulangeries, Patisseries Travelogue). One of the friends attending the celebration is from Cuba, a sculptor, who years ago lived in a cottage on what was Hemingway’s property. It’s true; I saw the photos!
There are Meetup groups of every sort imaginable. Yes, those groups exist elsewhere, but here there are so many expats from so many countries, and locals, that join in to make going an experience you want to repeat. Right now I belong to three groups and I hear several languages being spoken, and everyone sharing their knowledge and wanting to help and get to know each other.
My boulangerie chef now knows me, reaches for my usual order, and takes time to let me practice my French, if no customers are waiting.
The young men and women at my grocery store, help me as I work out what items mean, and ask if I really need an item if they are getting it fresh the next day. The one time I went without Nanou, they were concerned that something had happened to her.
And, yes, I have been screamed at in French by a woman walking her two dogs on a leash telling me I was not allowed in our small parc, pointing at a sign—not realizing that dogs were not allowed in the children’s play area, but were fine in the parc otherwise.
And once a woman at Monoprix refused to tell me what I had done wrong with the fruit I was buying, but a nice man in line explained that my bag was not tied and labeled and asked the woman to ring it up, and begrudgingly she did.
I follow my core value of respect and treat others as I would wish to be treated. I am polite, and people have been polite to me. I expect an even better time next year after completing my first classes at Alliance Francaise back home. I still dream about the Frenchman who will sweep me off my feet and be my tutor, but so far that is only a dream, or has the makings of a good fictional novel.
Wishing you a Bon Week-End.