I had lunch with Stefanie the French Girl today, along with Carl’s sister Maria, who thankfully speaks much better French than I do, in that she doesn’t pull one of these every couple of sentences: “Uhhhh, Burning Man, c’est un festival a Nevada ou on fait…um, ou on fait tous les choses…crazy? Les choses crazy and avec l’arte? Crazy art? How do you say that in French? Avec les gens naked? I mean, nues?” We shocked and scandalized poor Stefanie by paying tax and tip on our food and she shocked and scandalized us by telling us that her university has recently banned students from smoking in the school dining hall. We had a good time for the most part…I mean, as far as I could tell, when we weren’t correcting each other’s grammar.
She’s here for the summer doing an internship in marketing. We were talking about college and university and school, and Maria was saying that she’s only home from college for a week before she goes off to Alaska to spend the summer on a glacier. Stefanie asked if it was hard to be away from her family, and Maria, like many a college junior, talked about how she loved her parents but felt that living at home was not for her. She delivered this speech in French too, most impressively; she was all, “J’aime bien mes parents, mais je ne veux pas les habitudes d’habiter avec leurs.” I had to think really hard right there about how to word all that right there. I’m just telling you so you know how dumb I felt during this lunch. I understood everything that everyone was saying but when it came time to talk…well, you understand. I’m sure you understand how hard it was for me to have to listen and not be able to talk.
So. Anyway, Maria was saying that no, she didn’t much miss living at home, and then Stefanie said that she lives with her parents to go to college and that most of her friends do and she’s never been away from home this long and she’s finding it a little scary thus far. That was hard for me to understand; never leaving home for any extended period of time until 21 or 22. She has it especially tough because new country and new language, hello, but she said she couldn’t imagine going away to college…at which point Maria and I said we couldn’t imagine not going away. We decided, during this lunch, that family means different things to Americans than to Europeans, and also that Americans are much more individualistic and independently oriented than Europeans. Yes, all Americans and all Europeans feel that way. We were sweeping in our decisions at this lunch, you see. As well as rather obvious. Or, as I put it so brilliantly, “A mon avis, les Americaines sont plus independente que les Europeens.” I don’t know how to do accents. That last word is pronounced “Yuh-RO-pay-uns.” It has a very nice accent over the first e. I think. I don’t speak French anymore, remember? What do you want from my monolingual self?
What I thought about, again…this is really becoming a theme here, isn’t it…was about the decisions that an eighteen-year-old made ten years ago, and how they have affected and influenced my life. I don’t feel like that girl anymore, clearly, and I think that if I was in the same position I was ten years ago, but my twenty-eight year old self, I might make really different choices, knowing what I know now. Or maybe not, because maybe I wouldn’t be the twenty-eight-year old I am now had that eighteen-year-old made different choices, knowing what she did then. I tried to express all this in French too, but it didn’t work out so well, as you might imagine. For some reason it was a lot easier to talk about Tupperware (“tuh-PER-WAH”).
Yeah, I totally went to my very first Tupperware party last night. A friend is starting a personal organization business and is also going to sell Tupperware, so she invited us to a training party. The woman who ran it was a former ballet dancer (four months pregnant) who is expecting that she will receive her first Tupperware car soon. As in, Tupperware is going to buy her a car and she gets to trade it in for a new one when it has 60,000 miles on it. I seriously considered ditching whatever it is I do for work…the exact definition eludes me right now…and becoming a Tupperware lady instead. How bad and cultish could it be, anyway? Besides, with the help of Carl’s mom, I won a pair of plastic cups! Carl won a pitcher (with no help from his mom) and so we’ve decided to consolidate our new Tupperware products, in that if he ever makes a drink that he wants to pour from his pitcher, he can pour it straight into one of the cups. We bought some stuff too, and I got this weird what-the-hell-am-I-doing flash while we were all hunched over the order form, trying to pick out something cheap…we wanted to support Sandra, of course, but we also didn’t want to spend millions of dollars on a chip-and-dip tray. We both got, instead, these weird boxes with holes in them for keeping vegetables in the fridge. My Barbie fridge doesn’t have a crisper drawer so I usually just keep vegetables in a big plastic box, where they sicken and die nicely. But these boxes have ventilation, you see, and that, apparently, makes all the difference. Only time shall tell. I could totally see how you could eventually go mad wanting all sorts of very specific kitchen storage stuff, but I restrained myself. Well, sort of. We did fall for theMagic Ice Cream Scoop thingy though, which is hysterical because neither of us really eats ice cream…but it was only $5.99! Come on, honey, we’ll give it as a birthday present! Yeah.
So I’ve had quite the ridiculous couple of days, what with the abortive French and the boxes with holes in them. Thank goodness I’m spending the weekend at the ABL, where I never do anything ridiculous (“Hey everyone! Let’s pretend we’re whales!”) because I’m feeling as though I’m just about at my quota over here, you know?