One of the great things about a huge language barrier is that you occasionally order way more wine at dinner than you thought. I meant to order un pichet du vin at dinner tonight, but instead order un pot de vin. The difference is basically about two-and-a-half glasses of wine versus six. But I took it in stride, and I just went for it.
There are far worse things in the world to experience.
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Today was laundry day. One of the downsides of my apartment and building is that I must go to le laverie to do my laundry. It’s actually not as bad as I feared. I end up going about once every week and a half, and it only takes about an hour.
Of course, the first time I went (about a month ago), an apparently homeless man struck up a conversation with me. He was actually English and we talked for a bit about why he was sleeping on the floor of a laundromat (it was because his girlfriend kicked him out). It got a little uncomfortable when he asked how much I make at my job, but I finished my laundry and headed out.
This time a French girl (not the French girl) asked me how to work the machines. I helped her out and we talked a little (in English). She asked how long I had been in Paris and even said that if I didn’t know anyone here I could hang out with her.
It’s funny. The French have a bad reputation for friendliness, but for me it’s completely the opposite. I haven’t encountered a single person who was anything but helpful, kind, and friendly. Even during my trip to the immigration office yesterday, the case worker was extremely friendly and helpful. It makes a world of difference.
Anyway, back to le laverie.
We chatted for a few minutes, then she took off and let her laundry run. I thought a bit and realized even though she was kind enough to offer to hang out since I’m new in town, I didn’t really say yes or no, or even really get her phone number or anything.
But, my laundry finished, and I gathered it and headed back to my apartment. I kind of felt bad that she offered friendship and while I certainly didn’t reject it, I didn’t really respond in kind. Doh.
I did know that her laundry would be finished in about twenty minutes, so I planned to go to the boulangerie nearby and figured I would walk by just to see if she was there.
I popped in, we talked a bit more, and I helped her get her clothes in the dryer. She mentioned she was going to get a coffee, so I suggested that have it together. And we did.
That is so far outside my normal comfort zone it’s incredible. I never ever would have done anything like that six or twelve months ago. But I saw a moment and I seized it.
So we had coffee. She lives about three blocks away. We talked for a bit, and I got her number. I let her know that if she’s up for a drink at any time I’m available. I sent her my number and we exchanged a few more texts.
Life is good.