I love this family.
Today, the five of us drove to chez Nathalie (Laurent’s older sister) for a big family meal.
When I say big, I mean big. Let’s start counting.
My host family is a party of five: Martine, Laurent, Mathieu, Simon, et moi.
I’ve already met Nathalie, her husband Phillippe, and their son Maxime several times, but Nathalie’s adult son Julian came to visit, as well.
Laurent’s younger sister Muriel came with her son Thomas and daughter, who I’m pretty sure is also called Muriel.
Finally, we had a few family friends (whose names I never caught) come over with their son Gregoire.
That makes a total of fourteen Frenchies yelling at each other from across the room as I tried to make sense of the four or five conversations happening all at once for the entire meal. Luckily, I survived the afternoon and managed to respond coherently to most of the questions directed my way. For me, that’s enough to consider it a success. Conversation is so difficult when there’s a ton of background noise; it makes it nearly impossible to concentrate on what you need to say when your brain is trying to translate the discussion going on behind you.
We had a typical French lunch, starting at noon with drinks and little munchies and having our final cup of espresso around 4:30. We played a few rounds of Taboo en français, which was incredibly difficult but also great for learning some new vocab, and then ended the day with an outing to play Zee Layzair Gahms, which, in case you’re not fluent in English spoken with a French accent, means Laser Games.
Do you remember Laser Tag? There used to be tons of places with batting cages, put-put, and laser tag rooms where kids always had their birthdays. The basic principle is thus: everyone sports a vest with various infrared sensors and a laser gun that you use to “shoot” people on the opposite team. The fun comes from running around the dark maze and tagging people from strategic hiding spots.
It turns out that laser tag is way more fun as an adult than as a kid. When I was little, I spent most of my time at laser tag parties hyperventilating in a corner, trying to avoid any and all possibility of being hit or lost in the dark. Today, I had a blast. It might just have been because Mat, Julian, and I were a total dreamteam against the younger kids, but I’ll definitely try it again stateside to see if it’s as much fun back home.
What a day. I had a wonderful time, and it made me, once again, so appreciative of the living situation I stumbled upon here in France. My study abroad experience wouldn’t be half as exciting or culturally stimulating if I weren’t with this amazing family, and I’m so happy that I was lucky enough to meet them all.