I recently posted about how making friends in a foreign country is pretty hard and at 30, your friend-making years are basically over. You should have your friends all organised into groups – childhood, university, work – and that’s it, you’re out of friend chips.
So last week, in an attempt to bypass the friend laws, we went back to school. For a few hours of each day we study French so that eventually we stop sounding like French Borats. As well as the learning and all that jazz we were also hoping we’d meet some people in the process who we didn’t feel totally linguistically inferior to and in a few short days, we actually did.
As if by magic in the space of a week we had developed a veritable posse of foreigners speaking to each other in funny French; Mexican, Italian, Colombian, Equadorian, Italian, Polish, English and New-Zealandish. Granted sometimes we revert to English as everyone speaks it plus the occasional Spanish word will sneak into the conversation but more often than not our ‘shared’ language is French so that’s how we communicate.
On Friday night some of us decided to hit the esplanade for the weekly wine festival known as the Les Estivales. Now, I also mentioned before that making friends just isn’t what it used to be. You don’t just rock up to people and chat to them like you did back in days gone by. Well, it appears, I was wrong.
On Friday when we were estivaling* with some of our posse, I was standing holding the wines when Jono came back from one of the food stands with a paella and a French guy he’d just picked up. After a bit of bonsoir-ing and salut-ing our posse expanded to include a French person teaching us some of the things they don’t teach us in school – if I shared them with you you’d never look at seafood the same way again.
Later on he took us to a bar with excellent rum cocktails pre-prepared in bottles (genius) and there we somehow also bumped into our Mexican-classmate friend with her group of friends. We danced away to a latino/french/american mish-mash of music and enjoyed a great hangover-making evening.
Now after travelling though SE Asia I was initially, I’ve got to be honest, a little suspicious of our new friend. Who is this man? Why does he want to be our friend? Is he going to give us a lift and then demand money or buy us a cheap dinner then demand an expensive bottle of vodka? Is he hitting on us? (all of us, collectively). Turns out no, he was just being a friendly guy who wanted to hang out with friendly-looking people. Amazing.
Anyway, that was how we met frenchie and, after a day at the beach, ended up the following night at the restaurant recommended by him, Pizza Tavola. The restaurant deserves a fully fledged review so that’ll be coming up soon. On the way there we bumped into someone else we knew from the party a few weeks ago and later than night we bumped into the boyfriend of our lovely Mexican friend. Hopefully you’re getting the picture now that Montpellier is really quite small.
After dinner there was talk of clubbing that would start at midnight and end sometime in the future. It was at this point that we reminded ourselves that even though we were back at school, we would quite like to head home for a nice cup of tea, have a good rest and use the following day fruitfully.
Still, we’re starting to see a new side to Montpellier and are getting to know this strange little city on a whole new level and by bonding with new people we’re also bonding a little bit more with our new home.