After a whole week of doing nothing (no, nothing) but work, eat, sleep and, on one exciting afternoon, go to the supermarket, I arrived at Tuesday with a lot of oomph (new word for my terminales this morning) for socialising. As it happened, while Claire and Lena had been out flyering for wistipy they had met some sciences-po students who had invited them to a post-exams party on tuesday night. And so it was that amidst flurries of snow Claire, Tine, Lena, Chiara and I piled into a bar full of French students: not that we don't have enough friends already, but meeting more French people is our constant goal as not only does it mean success for wistipy, but also French practice for us (apart from anything else). However, the usual problem se posait: how? Even when they are in the same bar as you, the instinctive thing is to stay chatting to the people you know all evening..so after a while claire and I could see this was going to get us no closer to meeting someone new, and went on an adventure. We found a girl called Charlotte, who was very keen but having introduced us to her friend they both promptly ran away in search of more excitement and so left us to explore the crowds on our own.
Francais no.1 was very drunk. He refused to accept that claire was english (apparently I was more believable) and in short, one could not have a proper conversation with him. His friend, whose name was I think Benjamin although originally introduced as Geoffroy, was much more sensible and good fun, but after a few minutes we discovered he didn't really belong in Lyon and was leaving the next day, so we decided it wasn't really worth making friends and he wasn't going to introduce us to anyone else, and so on we went. Francais no.3 seemed uninterested in the prospect of talking to two anglaises and so swiftly introduced us to francais no.4. His name was Matthieu (I'm psychic: before leaving the house, I was eating dinner with Max and I said 'agh I must go' 'oh,' says max, 'are you going out? have you met someone?!' 'yes, says I, his name is, um, Matthieu, he's beau, intelligent, speaks several languages, does sport, music...').
Anyway, Matthieu was not far off this description: he's from somewhere near Cannes in the Riviera, and in his first year at the IEP studying something like PPE/SPS (not ecology, like a friend he pointed out in order to tell us ecologists were the land economists of IEP). He's also learning Chinese in order to spend a year in China in his third year. We had a lot of fun talking about english people, french people, lyon, languages, years abroad...all sorts of things. Claire even consented to cycling home in the snow rather than leave the conversation in time to catch the metro! We were hopeful about getting him and his friends to come to Wistipy the next night, and satisfied that we had, finally, gone out and met french students, we waited eagerly for Wednesday.
The thing about Wistipy, is that at previous soirées, there have been only a handful of people, including the organisers and their friends. So this week was the big drive: claire and lena had been out flyering at the universities and had enrolled a dj by the name of phil (who turns out to be one of natalie's best friends from glasgow…!) who had also helped them no end with spreading the word. Thankfully, this time the hard work paid off, and the cavern was full to bursting. The only problem? Almost not a frenchperson in sight, apart from the wistipy committee, who are great, but we know them already! In the middle of the evening claire and I did succeed in coming across a pair of baffled french girls who had turned up for a quiet drink at the cavern and discovered it overrun with foreigners…and stayed! By the names of Ariane and Suzanne, they seemed very friendly and Suzanne had been a french assistant at Eton for a year, so there was plenty to talk about!
Two evenings, both lots of fun, both resulting in new french acquaintances. Not bad for one week, one might say-but definitely not good enough. My cultural week continued on Thursday evening with an exhibition about frontiers that I went to with Antonia (who is a museologist and so rather into such things) and then my favourite italian film, la stanza del figlio. Tonight has some more international fun in store and tomorrow Lena is having some kind of a birthday party…who knows when we'll see the new french friends again but hopefully we can involve them in something, or go to some more of their university soirées.
Oh, and meanwhile I'm about to go out for tea with Fiona and Victoria, Fiona being a lovely French/English girl who I met on my way home for christmas (in the fog) and Victoria met on her way back out…talk about a small world!