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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bicultural Relationships

Last night, against my better judgement, I went into Paris with Gui Gui. We went to the seventeenth, to see a friend of his, drink a few beers, and as per usual, have several impromptu French lessons.

I was running late, and the A14 was closed, so we didn't make it into the city until after eleven. We miraculously found parking right outside the building and used the fifteen thousand codes that Paris apartment require and finally found ourselves, naturally, outside the wrong door. Gui Gui finally starting yelling Niehls' name, and we looked down the hall, to see a large, dark figure shadow the door of the apartment to the right. After a few laughs, we entered the relatively spacious Parisian apartment (boasting enough room for AT LEAST five people.) It was one of those places that would have been nice, if I lived there, but as it was occupied by a 21 year old engineering student, it wasn't. I didn't care that much, but Gui Gui had a hard time hiding his disgust. The floor was littered with school papers, I counted at least ten empty cigarette boxes, and plenty of fast food wrappers.

Niehls is a nice guy. Gregarious, not self possessed, and funny. But, as Gui Gui and Niehls sat there discussing Niehls' tattoo, and I attempted to catch every word, I had one more realization.

Cross cultural dating is hard. I wouldn't be seeing Gui Gui, if I wasn't comfortable with him, I wouldn't be meeting his friends either, if I was concerned that it would be boring, because it's not. But the language thing, is such a pain the ass. There is nothing more frustruating, than listening to a conversation, wanting to understand it, and not. It feels absurd. When Gui Gui are together, just the two of us, I understand about 92 percent of what he says, when he talks to his friends, or yesterday when he was talking to his sister, I miss more than I should admit.

I was a little buzzed when we left last night (at 230 am) and I was feeling nostalgic, and telling him how much I would like to show him my country. It's a little unsettling, to be living in a place so foreign, and be with someone who can show where they drank their first beer, or where they used to set bon fires, or where they went to middle school. Meanwhile, the only memories I can share are "Oh man, I love this song!" I am vaguely nostalgic for the days when I could say, "I know this place that I used to go when I was younger, I'll take you next weekend."

He asked me then, "Do you think I would get along with your friends?" Of course!

.........If you spoke the same language. Because as hard as it was for me to go out with Gui Gui's friends, I at least get the gist of the conversation, that is, I don't understand every word, but I know what they're talking about. And while Gui Gui's English isn't nonexistant, he has a hard time following me and my anglofriends. We went out for Saint Patrick's Day, but we pretty much had to float between my friends, and his friends. Mine will be speaking in English (and we wont change for anyone), and his will be speaking in French.

Goes with the territory, I guess.

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