a.k.a. I should do this more often!
Today, I had a wonderful afternoon and evening with one of my best friends and a bunch of strangers in a local bar. Brought together by our will to practise English, we spent over three hours doing just that, then switched back to French for a great night out. Tonight, I write to remember this day and the people I was with.
M organised the whole thing. As I had been unable to attend a previous event due to its inconvenient location, she arranged for the meetup to take place in my city just so I could make it, despite how unpractical this was for her. We had only met once, many months before, and I couldn’t remember much about her, except for her accent. While her English isn’t perfect, she sounds like a native of Great Britain and is often mistaken for one.
A is the friend I brought. When I told him about this meetup, I didn’t think he would be interested as he had never expressed any interest in practising English, but he came anyway. He was self-conscious at first, but that changed after his first beer. I swear he ended up speaking more than I did – and I didn’t have any confidence issues. He made lots of mistakes but enjoyed himself and wants to come along the next time I attend an English meetup.
S was on holiday and had come out of curiosity. He had made some interesting career choices and infused me with some much-needed motivation. His English wasn’t much better than A’s but he made for a delightful conversation partner and suggested a sports meetup that I might take part in. I had a weird feeling about him, though – he somehow reminded me of a former acquaintance that had turned out to be someone to avoid at all costs.
R spoke really well and had a wide vocabulary – he was nicknamed “dictionary on legs”, which turned into “walking dictionary” as it sounded a bit classier. He came out as a huge nerd when he explained that he had played Scrabble in Klingon, a language from Star Trek. I began daydreaming about playing Scrabble in German and wondering if my German friends would agree to playing with me when I visited them – despite how terrible I would be.
V, a friend of A that I already knew, joined us later, after R had left. A had told her where we were but had apparently failed to mention what we were doing. She spent the first ten minutes or so speaking French while the rest of us kept speaking English, and I found this refusal to “play by the rules” really annoying. She was just shy and a bit rusty but got by just fine after a short while.
D was the last one to join, and incidentally the one among us who came from the furthest away. An Italian, he was only in the area to visit one of his cousin and was to go home the next day. He spent the evening with A, S, V, and me and triggered more than a few giggles with his stereotypes about French people. He had travelled to Germany a few times and his depiction of the Reichstag building and its dome made me want to see Berlin.