Wednesday, December 14, 2005

a fine christmas party

We had a really great time at the Christmas party last night. It was a relatively young crowd, made up of Steph's colleagues and assorted family members, and we were sixteen in all. I'd say more than half of the guests arrived in some sort of costume. I think my favorite was the guy who came with the big Russian fur hat, a fake goatee glued to his face, and a plastic sword in his belt. I got lots of compliments on my graduation outfit ("Is that your real hat?") and Steph was very funny in his oversized fishing hat with a huge fishing hook attached to it.

Once everyone was settled in with drinks and snacks, including a really tasty olive bread and lots of different quiches and tarts, we had a game. Everyone had a card with the name of a famous person written on it pinned to our backs, and we had to guess who we were in order to receive our presents. Carrie will be very pleased to know that I was John Irving, because I recently lent our host, who is an English teacher, my copy of "A Prayer for Owen Meany," and Steph was André Le Nôtre, because he started a gardening club this year at the school. After everyone had discovered who we were, we settled down to opening presents. Steph received a Rubik's cube key chain, and I got a box of chocolates. Personally, I think I came out of it with the best gift, even though my gift won't last as long as everyone else's!

Then we had a song. I have to say, I love how the French tend to break out in song all the time, and to go as far as to copy down lyrics for everyone for a sing-a-long. This reminds me a lot of my North Carolina family, who do the exact same thing. They even broke out in "La Marseillaise" for Steph last summer - and they knew all the words in French! Anyway, last night, we sang the French standard "Comme d'Habitude" with altered lyrics that were so funny, I had tears streaming down my face! OK, the flowing alcohol may have aided in that, but the lyrics really were hysterical. Three of the teachers got together to do that, and they did an amazing job.

After that it was à table for dinner and dessert. I spoke way more English than I had expected to last night. Usually, I look forward to these events as a chance to practice speaking French in conversation, especially since being in a crowd is more difficult, but with three English teachers and two other guests who had American ties, everyone wanted to practice their English with me! Often they would speak to me in English and I'd try to respond in French, but a lot of "how do you say *** in English?" tends to bring that to a halt.

It was something of an early night since we got home before 1:00 in the morning (these evenings often go on until 2:00 or 3:00 but lots of people had to work today) but even then we were looking forward to our grasse matinée, or sleeping late this morning. Alas, it was not to be, as there were delivery men with our new futon couch pounding on the door at 8:30 this morning. But that's another story.

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