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Journals from American University Center of Provence

2009-11-19 A Tea Shop in September

It is difficult to be outgoing, but always worth it. For example, a few months ago I went into a tea shop with a friend. It was a lovely smelling place and they were playing enjoyable music. I was with a friend who had just arrived from the US, and we were both still quite young in our experience of the French language. The server quickly realized (after we fumbled our words and our actions over the menu and his Marseille accent) we were not French and told us about a franco/english language exchange that was starting up in a few weeks. I didnt really know what he was talking about, at the time. I went back the next week with other friends and he (Ben) told us again. I became more interested and the next week I went back to find out what exactly this thing was. But Ben wasnt working. I was almost ready to give up, but his coworker offered to call him. The coworker got his whereabouts and I thus proceeded to go on a search through town to find him. That used up most of my energy and courage. By the time I found him I didnt really know what to say. But no worries, he gave me the phone number of the person organizing the event and said she was looking for people to help her organize. Knowing I didnt have a lot of anything else going on, I called Amanda and I offered my help. We met for coffee and I quickly realized I wanted to be friends with her. I was happy to be a part of something bigger than the little sphere of what I knew France to be at that point. Its turned out to work wonderfully. We meet Tuesday nights at a popular bar. As a helper to the organizer, I tell everyone I know the language exchange and each week we make up all kinds of questions in equal amounts of English and French. The language of the question chosen determines the language of the discussion. There are about ten people who come regularly and another ten who come and go. Because of that one escapade across town, my scope of aquaintences exponentially exploded. Amanda introduced me to many of her friends who I introduce to my friends who then become friends with their friends. I am slowly watching everyone around me become closer. If I could draw a diagram of the process, it would look like a bunch of triangles intersecting and overlapping in a big happy jumble (sometimes, of course, there are some uncomfortable collisions, but always in negligible amounts considerating the larger entanglement). Because of that escapade at the beginning of September, I met another Ben, a Tibou, a Theo, an Erika, a Bo, a Molly. and so many others, who are now friends with a Mindi, a Teresa, a Terrence, an Amy, a Kirsten and so many others. and now it is the middle of November and I am not sure how it is that I have come to meet and get to know all of these people. Like I said, It is difficult to be outgoing, but always worth it. Joy Nelson November 18, 2009

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