I’m sure anyone learning a new language has experienced the moment when you learn a new word and then you hear it everywhere and then you’re not sure how you ever really lived before without knowing that word.
Most recently for me that word is bouger, it has never come up in school or uni but now I’m in France I must hear it at least 3 times a day. It means ‘to move’ or ‘to move around’ and can be used a wide range of contexts. For example my landlady said to her friend the other day ‘Katie, elle bouge beaucoup’ (lit: ‘Katie, she moves around alot’) meaning ‘Katie, she travels alot’. Or I’ve heard it being used in the context of the sort of dancing you might do at a night club. I’ve even just heard it to replace the verb aller (to go). When I asked a French person about this word she told me it’s au courant which is probably why they never taught it to us at school or uni but I can now safely say it is part of my French lexis. But I bet by the time I return to French classes at uni it will be out of fashion!
I have been doing a lot of bouge-ing recently. This week we are on Toussaint (All Saints) holiday (god bless France and its Catholic holidays) so I kindly took up the invitation from my French assistant from when I was in year 13 to spend a few days with her in Lyon and then a few friends from Dijon (other assistants) joined me for a few more days in Lyon and then we went to Annecy. In sum, Lyon is amazing with loads to see and it was very exciting being in such a busy city after being in the relativly small city for Dijon for a month. Lyon - c'est une ville qui bouge! (Lyon - it's a happening city!) Annecy's main attraction is a stunning lake at the foot of the Alpes and was a complete contrast to Lyon but also absolutely supurb! Many things happened on this holiday but for now I would like to share just a few moments with you:
- I attended my first French dinner party. Patricia (my French assistant from year 13 who I stayed with in Lyon) and her boyfriend hosted another couple for dinner. The prep for the food started at 5pm yet the guests didn’t arrive until 9pm, we didn’t start with the aperitifs until 10pm and after 3 different types of snack foods, 1 bottle of wine and 2 bottles of strawberry and rhubarb alcoholic liquor (a Picardy speciality – the region where Patricia is posted as an English teacher) we finally sat down for our starter at midnight. After 4 courses (starter, main, cheese and desert – that’s right in France the cheese course is before desert, which makes much more sense than the other way round quite frankly!) and several more bottles of wine we had our after dinner coffee at around 2 am! (Sadly there were no after dinner mints!) What can I say, the French take eating seriously!
- When we turned up for our coach from Lyon to Annecy (in good time I might add) it was clear that there were more than 1 coach worth of people waiting for the coach. In true French style there was much pushing and shoving to get on the one coach and no real form of a orderly queue and as the bus driver waved goodbye to us and the rest of the other stranded passengers (bastard!) it became evident that there would be no second coach and that they had just sold way more tickets than there were seats (a little bit of common sense and planning could have avoided this problem surely?) We were told that we would just have to wait two hours (!!) for the next coach and then 5 minutes later we were told that we could get the train to somewhere else in Rhone-Alpes (the name escapes me right now) and then get a bus from there to Annecy which is what we did all the way laughing at the stupidly of the French’s lack of fore planning.
- Our train from Lyon to Dijon was delayed and French for delay/late is retard and despite knowing this word since year 7 nothing stopped us from finding the word retard flashing on the screen over and over again hilarious! Vivre la France and your silly words!
Today (in case you didn’t know is Halloween) and we had all been told that the French don’t celebrate Halloween. And apart from a few chocolate shops (yes that’s right they have many chocolate shops in France, not like England with your chains of Thortons and Hotel Chocolat, no, France has lots of independent chocolatires) selling pumpkin shaped sweets and the odd bar with a few pathetic Halloween decorations, it would appear that this statement is true. However at the very early hour of 4pm (before it had even got dark) a small group of dressed-up children turned up at my door and didn’t even say anything that resembled ‘trick or treat’ they just demanded bonbons, sadly I was unable to offer them any so they just sheepishly sulked off.
I celebrated Halloween this year by hosting my very own French dinner party (yes we had the appropriate 4 courses and bottleS of wine). It was so much fun to cook for people for the first time in ages and it was a lovely evening spent with people who are quickly becoming dear friends of mine and it was the perfect way to spend my last evening in the lovely house in Northern Dijon that has been my home for the last month as tomorrow I move to my apartment in the centre-ville.
Time for more bouge-ing!