First of all, it is an honor to be guest blogging for Kelsey! I have laughed my way through all of her blog posts, and as my family makes up a good percentage of her core readers, I have a lot to live up to when it comes to writing my blog next semester (for when I am abroad in London).
It has been a really special and unique experience having Kelsey in Marmande, as it is not very often that your best friend is able to make a trip down to the South of France to visit your entire family. As Kelsey said to me when I first got here: “The best advice I can give to someone who is looking to study abroad is to choose a country in which your best friend has family.” Good luck with that one, people.
Mostly, this post will be about our “rendez-vous” last night with two friends of mine, Louis and Kevin. But before I get that, I will quickly talk about what we did today. Kelsey and I woke up on the earlier side this morning in order to accomplish something before lunch, which usually doesn’t happen. We went and walked around the Lac de Beaupuy by my grandparent’s house and then made our way into town to visit one of my dad’s cousins who has a big house en centre ville.
In the afternoon, I took Kelsey to visit the small town of Castelnau, where I also have some family. Basically, she learned that one of my dad’s first cousins is the village butcher, another is a hairdresser, his great aunt has a huge house that takes up most of the village, and a Mateu used to be Mayor…Basically, she learned that la famille Mateu runs the South of France. A highlight of the visit was definitely when we walked in on Alain, the butcher, as he was nonchalantly whacking away at a duck.
But anyways, getting back to our “rendez-vous,” I would have to say that our adventures last night were among the most fun since we have been together. I should preface this by explaining that when I was putting together a mental list of all things I wanted to do with Kelsey, these were the top two items:
1. Help Kelsey experience being on a French date.
2. Make sure she eats Chinese food while in Marmande.
Just kidding, the first item never crossed my mind and the second, well I would have dropped dead before taking Kelsey to Chinese food in Marmande but I really didn’t have a choice!
When Louis and Kevin (we thought more friends would be joining them) came to pick us up at my grandparents, they forgot the house number so they waited creepily in the car. My grandpa saw them through the window and we went outside to greet them. Kelsey and I were secretly laughing at how cute it was that they had both loaded up on cologne and thrown some gel into their hair. Louis even wore his American flag shirt for the occasion.
I should let all of you know that I have a boyfriend, and Kevin (according to Facebook) has a girlfriend. So basically, we were there to support Kelsey and Louis because I knew deep-down that going on a French date was on Kelsey’s bucket list. Check.
So the evening was off to a good (and slightly awkward) start as we began driving around Marmande in Louis’ mom’s minivan. However, problem number one arose when we began noticing that all of the restaurants in Marmande were closed…Marmande is NOT big and the selection is already very limited. Though Louis likes to say Marmande is just a bit bigger than the United States. Anyways, in France, a lot of places are closed on Mondays and yes, they decided to take us out on a Monday. Party foul. We tried a few different locations and looped around Marmande a few times, basically a personal tour of the town.
Last resort, we wound up at the one Chinese restaurant in Marmande after having been given the choice between that or McDonald’s. Yum, our favorite.
I won’t go into too much detail about the buffet-style restaurant because we had a lot of fun, but let’s just say that it was five steps down from Panda Express and about as lively as Hometown Buffet. Louis explained to us that whenever he comes here with Kevin, they have a competition of who can eat the most. I told him they could have their competition if they wanted but he told Kelsey and me that that wasn’t “romantique.”
We proceeded to make our way to a really cute bar in town, which had Kelsey and me wondering why we hadn’t eaten there. It was TWENTY steps up from the Chinese place. Pourquoi? Pourquoi pas?! (Why?…Why not?) That was our motto for the night.
We left the bar when the patrons started stacking chairs and because everything else was closed, Kevin decided it would be fun to hang out a la Place de Beaupuy by his house, outside in the cold. Pourquoi pas?! Basically, we were sitting in a small square in the middle of the town, under a small wooden hut. Kevin joked and told us he built it himself and had even hung the Christmas lights up for our enjoyment. Every time a car would drive by (which was maybe once every half hour), the boys would make a joke that there were SO MANY people around. “Oh my god!” they would say on the rare occasion that a car passed. I guess when you are from a small town you learn to poke fun at the little things.
It wasn’t until this morning that my Mamy told us the wooden hut was a bus stop…
I should also mention that Kelsey has made great progress in French since being here and the boys made some attempts to speak in English. According to Kevin, girls have told him that his French accent is “sexy.” When speaking with each other, our favorite topic of conversation was music. They both started talking about “Kenny” West, which confused us at first but we soon understood that they meant KANYE West. Oh well, good effort boys. Louis also expressed his love for the rapper Notorious B.I.G. and proceeded to give us some gangsta impressions, which consisted of throwing on his hood and flashing peace signs.
All in all, a great night and I am so glad that Kelsey has been able to get to know mes amis en France. I think she’s impressed by how wisely I’ve chosen my friends!