With human beings! Saturday I'm going to get coffee with some of the students in the creative writing program at the university here. Looking forward to it. I've barely opened my mouth since I arrived, except in shops and cafes.
In most of the cafes here, I've run into what I refer to as "the Italy problem," as I first encountered it when I was studying in Rome: I speak in French, they respond in English. They must notice that my grammar and/or pronunciation is off, assume I'm a tourist, and switch to make me more comfortable. That's why I was so relieved when I went to Terra Nova bookstore today. The sky was threatening to rain until a few hours ago, so I decided to walk to the bookstore, which was recommended to me by Cathy. It was just as lovely as she promised! It's packed with books from around the world, and it even has a small cafe inside. I drank a hot chocolate and worked on editing my translation piece. Before I left I asked if they had Réparer les vivants by Maylis de Kerangal (also recommended to me by Cathy); not only did they have the book, but they spoke with me in French the whole time they were trying to find it. Success.
A word on French bookstores: there are many of them. Many many. Like, multiple bookstores on one short street. Basically, France is paradise. Tomorrow I'm going to try to get up early and head to a street market where they sell used books. Already drooling.
I walked past several vintage stores this evening. I saw one whole rack of dresses for 20 euros each. Somebody's getting a souvenir. (That somebody is me.)
When I walk along the tree-lined Cours Dillon on my way back to my apartment, I always see several groups of people playing Pétanque, a game that Joe had mentioned to me before I traveled here. I think it's sort of like Bocce Ball. I want to sit and watch a game, but I also don't want to be a creep. Maybe I'll sit on one of the benches there and "read" one of these days.
On a final note, today I learned that the French word for chicken nuggets is "nuggets de poulet." Let's all take a moment to celebrate the fact that the French have a word for chicken nuggets.