Tonight (saturday night) our village was having a party, hosted by the local youth association to raise money for... something they do... The youth association is basically made up of young people that live in the village who are over 18, and not yet married. Interesting.
We figured we'd go over and make an appearance, even though we don't really know anyone (perhaps for that exact reason, really). Kinda nervous at first, we walked up, got some food, and I found a spot at a picnic table near some people that had a young girl in a stroller. Then I realized that the people were speaking English. So I used my recent stroller research to start up a conversation-- I asked the mom what kind she had (some big cool-looking jogging stroller) and the convo flowed from there. It was great. Turns out her parents ( so the baby's grandparents) live in the village, grandma is Dutch and grampa is Brittish but by birth only and has traveled everywhere (army brat, basically). They all spoke perfect English. Grandma talked to me for about 5 minutes before offering me a bunch of baby stuff (that she said they'll of course need back by the time the 2nd grandbaby is born, but it'll be a while till then apparently). I told her, "Of course! Thank you! I'll take what I can get!" Especially since the first thing she offered was a "baby basket" which I'm thinking may be a moses basket, which is precisely what I want Loki to sleep in for those first several months so I can carry him around the house with me easily.
Zach also got to talking to an older couple sitting on his other side, who also spoke a bit of English and were very nice, and later we said hi to an American couple that we met a few months ago that moved to the village 16 yrs ago and never left. I've been meaning to go talk to the mom, Connie, for a while to ask her about baby stuff (she had 2 of her 4 children here) so it was great to meet her and get to share our news this way (her house is tucked away down a random street and hard to just swing by). She also seems to know lots of other people here, and immediately introduced us to some neighbors (whose backyard we look out onto from our kitchen window) who, again, are Swiss yet speak perfect English.
So yeah, overall it was a really great night to mingle and meet people, and although we were sorta prepared to have to fumble through in French we only had to do that for a short bit of the time. It's amazing how well so many Europeans known English... it used to be if I heard someone speaking with a perfect US accent I'd assume they were American... no more. You just can't assume that, as so many of them simply learned it early enough and with an American teacher, or perfected it by watching American TV. It was also funny to see people's reactions when we told them which house we live in-- apparently it really is famous in the village, having been empty, run down, and inhabited by squatters for a while before it got remodeled and we moved in. I think the entire village was quite happy to see someone actually do something nice with the house, and we by association are welcomed.
Another funny thing about the party-- they had a live band, who played all American music (including some Beatles songs and "Money for Nothing"). The lead singer was Scottish, which I guess explains the English-language setlist a bit... but it was still a kick to hear some of the things they played. Zach and I did get up and two-step to one country-ish song, and watched as others danced the "rock and roll" which looks very much like swing. Zach was cute, kind of afraid to really dance much for fear of hurting me and my growing belly. =P Connie mentioned that after the band, a DJ was set to come on and play I guess dance music... which is what all the young people present were waiting around for. I retired early as I was starting to feel a definite decline in energy, Zach went back to mingle a bit more. I'll be curious what other fete stories he brings back.
(As a random aside, does anyone know how to make the different accents on blogger... or email, or other applications? I figure I'll need to learn this at some point...)