Pique-nique de Pâque dans le Parc

Hello all. We finally have our own Internet connection, so now maybe posting regularly could be a reality. Of course I am very busy with study and my “crazy projects” so I’ll just have to see what happens. Unfortunately we only have dial-up, so I now have to come to terms with being back in the slow lane after hitching a high speed ride with my brother for several months while we were staying at my Mum’s house. Thanks for that by the way mon frère.

We’ve settled into the new house nicely in the main. The wiring is a bit dodgy and the light bulbs seem to blow far too often and the plumbing has needed a bit of a look at as well as a couple of other little things. But other than these small issues, it is quite a nice house a good price. Two bedroom and two story, although I think I have already mentioned that. Nice small back yard with some big trees and some big trees out the front too.

Over the summer, which hasn’t been too hot, though the temperature did bump up a wee bit, the house has stayed very cool indeed. This is in part because of the house being made from proper solid brick instead of the paper thin varieties of plaster board and thin brick veneers that most houses these days seem to be made from. So the house has retained a cool, fresher air than one of those houses. It’s quite a relief when one gets back in from a warm day to meet that natural coolness. We’ll have to see if the house keeps warm in the winter though, that can sometimes be a problem with these houses where they feel like an ice box in winter and need constant heating.

I’ve especially been enjoying having an upstairs mini-balcony just off the main bedroom. We have developed a tendency to sleep with the main door open and the screen door locked. It’s quite nice to fall asleep hearing the wind in the branches, very relaxing. Some might say Zen.

Anyway, I might just pop up a few details of what’s been going on recently. The most obvious for today is of course Easter (la Fête de Pâque) and we actually went out and spent it with other human beings. French human beings.

The French Benevolent Association of SA held a pique-nique at Hazelwood Park, a lovely park over in the east of Adelaide. This was of course full of francophonic type people as well as francophilic type people. As much as I would love to count myself in the former group, we all mostly fit into the latter. Despite this, the pique-nique was very enjoyable. We got there with our rather French assortment of goodies (well I thought so anyway) consisting of crusty bread, a brie from Normandy called St Siméon (seems to be somewhat similar to a coulommier, but that may not be quite right), some salad and some muffins and stuff. My Mum had come with Joseph and my foster sister Erin, and Annmarie’s Mum and Brother Justin had come along as well. We all tried to keep with the French and Easter themes.

The day was very nice, warm and bright so everyone had a good time. There was an Easter egg hunt pour les enfants, Willow and Gabriel enjoyed that very much. We enjoyed being amongst the French speakers but were a bit shy about trying to speak to too many people earlier in the day. Some of the members of the Association came around and chatted-in English-but we mostly kept to ourselves unfortunately.

Later when we had all eaten and packed up our stuff, we played some football (European, not Aussie) and then we started thinking of heading off. Willow had wanted to get some phone numbers of some of the French children and I went along to hold the pen and tell her our number so she could write it. After she had swapped numbers with one of the other families, I dove in and started a chat in French.

Considering my skill level and volume of real experience, I think it went quite well. I went through the basics of introduction and greeting. Was introduced to another, described my Family and my current state of French studies and how much Annmarie had studied. I even added that that we had stayed in Paris for a couple of months last year. This was my only downfall in maintaining the conversation.

I just completely misheard, “Est-ce que vous l’aimez?” after saying we had stayed in Paris. This translates into “Did you like it?”. Seeing that I was trying to decipher it, she rephrased to “Est-ce que vous amiez Paris?” or something like that, referring to Paris directly, but I was already lost. She put it in English and the penny dropped and I had one of those moments of “Oh! l’aimez!” and then we continued in French again.

Overall I was quite pleased with my efforts, I was even complemented on my French-and quite forgot to reply with my trained light-hearted rejoinder to downplay the compliment, apparently very common in France. I went through all the basics that we have covered in my Uni course and then added some more. Describing other people, describing the past and other places. It was quite exciting to converse in another language. I could feel my brain rebelling against the fluency concept though and desperately wanting to slow down and translate. Having a person there waiting for an answer does help to spur on the brain though.

So, the rest of today has been eating Easter chocolate (Lindt and Haighs mostly, we do like nice chocolate) and generally getting ready for tomorrow when Annmarie’s brother is turning up with his four kids, so there will be much activity then.

As said before, I am looking to keep this blog up-to-date™ from now on.



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