this is a group of people who want to keep their english skills up-to-date with common phrases and usage. they are people of all age groups and nationalities who sit in a circle and just chat in english. however, i was actually the only american. there was a french-canadian man who seemed to be the group expert on the states, a couple of chinese people, a scottish lady, an english woman, several french people, and me. i was there for a couple of hours so the group dynamic changed a bit in that time.
basically the group asked me some questions about where i was from and why i was here in rennes. at some point the conversation went to talk of the election. the french-canadian man said that he was listening to the radio today and they were interviewing someone from arkansas who said 'i dont want a *insert n-word*
in office.' he repeated the word like 15 times to us and said how shocked he was that people still used that word. the english lady sitting next to me didnt want to hear the n-word anymore and asked me what people think about sarah palin in the u.s. i told her i was from ann arbor so anything i had to say would be biased, but we chatted for a bit.
anyway, back in the group, conversation wandered a lot. i learned two french words for marshmallow (they were on the table as halloween treats...boy do they have a lot to learn; they dont celebrate halloween in france). they also discussed transvestites, legal prostitution, sheriffs in the u.s. south, gun possession, and hurricanes and why people live where they can be damaged by them. i found it amusing that one of the frenchmen who had lived in new york said that new york, california, and florida were the smartest and strongest states...he sited miami as the powerhouse of florida...i had to laugh internally. i suppose as a tourist site and well-known city it does stand out for florida. it was just an amusing stretch to call it one of the top 3 stand-out states in the country (sorry mom). they said that at one of the next meetings i would have to tell them about michigan and its 'great lakes.'
as a quick aside, at one point, the chinese man asked what using air quotes meant. i think i had used them earlier while i was talking. he said he had seen the Friends episode where Joey incorrectly uses them the whole time and Ross tries to explain them to him. i thought that was amusing.
ahhh, anyway, as time went on, more odd frenchmen started showing up making french jokes and harassing the nice chinese guy. im not sure what to make of this group, but i suppose i'll figure more out next week. although, then it will probably be all post-election talk. which maybe i wont want to hear, maybe i will.