Sunday, February 9, 2014

Commingling of Culture and Class

Cruising down La Seine with the glittering lights of Paris streaming past is truly a sight like no other. Last night I went to a surprise birthday party for the mother of the family I am hosted by. This means that I knew no one else at the part but the parents and the children, everyone spoke French, and I am sure I was surrounded by a substantial amount of affluence. The positive aspects of this setup? Fountains of free champagne (not literal fountains, though that would have been damn cool!) and the opportunity to practice French, something I have been completely slack about while on break from classes. Negative aspects? There were lovely little appetizers circulating all night, but I would say approximately 95% of them had delicate pieces of shrimp as part of their make-up. Since I am allergic to shrimp and all members of the fruits de mer family, my best intentions to fill my tummy with nourishment whilst imbibing in libations, were painfully outnumbered. I shared with the smart young bartender the fact that I don't speak tons of French and was unacquainted with the rest of the party so he kept my glass adequately stocked. 

Amidst my numerous observations throughout the evening, I was struck by the general commingling. It's possible I was the only one of my age range, most either decades older or decades younger, the only American, though not the only English speaker. I was delighted by the people who made it their business to chat with me in French or make me feel welcome, and even more tickled by the fact that when it came down to it, the dance floor was full to the brim with grandparents partnering 8-year-olds, moms boogying down to songs by the Black Eyed Peas, and all generations of merrymakers generally dancing to life. It was one of those moments where you see that families world-wide really aren't much different from each other, all love to love and love to be together. And the best part for me, of course, was the panorama of photos taken as I dared the evening chill despite my sleeveless party dress...

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