Remember that wedding I attended in August in the gorgeous Sand Hills of Nebraska? The (not so) newlyweds are finally on their honeymoon, backpacking across the Camino de Santiago de Compostela over a month-and-a-half period (crazy, I know). But I was also lucky enough to have had the privilege of hosting my two friends over the past weekend. They arrived last Friday, bringing with them beautiful spring sunshine and blooming flowers. The entire day was absolutely gorgeous, and we made sure to take advantage of the Parc Saint Pierre in its full spring splendor.
When you have lived in several different places, be it a few cities or a few countries, one of the great rewards of life is to have a visitor from one of your “worlds” come and visit you at another. I’ve had my Swiss sisters come to Omaha and see me in Amiens, and I’ve had multiple members of my family visit me in France and Switzerland. This is the first time, however, that I’ve had close friends from the United States treat me to a visit, spending extra money and going out of their way to see me and my quaint little French town. I felt like an eager kid showing off his preschool to his parents, everything from his playground friends to his favorite teacher, and I know that Hedi, long accustomed to living in Amiens, was able to view the city with the eyes of a tourist. Wow, that Cathedral is gorgeous and look at all those old buildings! Hedi was suddenly thrust into a world of English, and I kept speaking the wrong language to the wrong person. Rarely have I had such an opportunity to constantly be speaking more than one language side by side, although I’ve already noticed a new stage in my bilingualism since working at a school where English is constantly spoken and returning home to speak and read in and listen constantly to French.
I had a bit of all my different worlds join forces together at My Goodness on Friday night: the old and the new, friends from College, from my Masters program, from my first study abroad experience, from my new job. It was quite pleasant, especially to share stories about British English vs. American English, to talk about meeting one’s other half (and all the risks of the unknown), and to combine a bit of everything I have ever known. We were American, English, Tunisian, and French, using a variety of languages and comparing the foreignness of our different experiences.
Time was spent in the Cathedral, walking around the city, visiting the beautiful floating gardens, playing Settlers of Catan, and cooking various delicious meals. We went to the large souk-like market on Sunday and came back bearing halal roast chickens, more types of olives than my friends had ever seen in their entire lives, loaves of bread, and a variety of honey-saturated North African pastries. We even got to Skype with a mutual friend to end a weekend of startling juxtaposition. And off the pilgrims go, on their way through the Northwestern coast of Spain. À la prochaine!