Hello Friends and Family,
I’m starting to figure out that the weather here can be bipolar. Some mornings I wake up and the day is screaming at me to stay in bed and watch movies all day. But alas, I get myself up and go to practice. When I get out of practice, though, the sun is shining and all is beautiful. That’s happened a couple of times. So on Saturday when we wanted to go into the market and it was calling for rain; we decided to pull on our rain boots and go. My mom always says to never let the rain stop you from going and doing something fun. If you don’t go today you could miss out! We especially didn’t want to miss out on Market Day! Every Wednesday and Saturday morning the locals come out and set up their tables and tents in the streets of town. There is an abundance of fruits, vegetables, flowers, handbags, and more! It’s a beautiful sight to see the streets so full, and everyone milling about trying different sweets and chatting with friends.
I love going to market day because I feel as if I’m adopting a part of their culture. Also, it’s an easy way for me to buy lemons. Cue quote “When life gives you lemons…” When you buy fruits or vegetables at the grocery store here, you have to bag them and take them to a little kiosk in the produce section. You select which fruit you have, weigh it, and it prints out a little price sticker for you to put on your bag. At the checkout line, if you don’t have this price sticker on your produce bag the cashier will not ring it up for you. I got into a pickle one day when I had forgotten to weigh my bananas. Anywho, I have wanted to buy lemons for a couple weeks now, but I can’t find them on the produce kiosk to be able to weigh them and print a sticker. So every time I go to the grocery store I stare longingly at the lemons. You may think, ‘just ask for help!’ Funny. One time there were two French ladies at the store who were trying to weigh some vegetable that looked like a root. They (the locals) couldn’t find it on the kiosk and started asking ME for help! I must look like a local (HA!) because they didn’t try to slow down their French for me. I gave them a blank look and said, “Desole, je ne suis pas.” Aka “Sorry, I don’t know.” Fluent enough, right? They didn’t end up getting their vegetable root, and I also left without my lemons. However, at Market Day, I can get three lemons for a euro (which is a steal around these parts), and all I have to do is point! The man at the fruit stand was as kind as he could be, and I think he was trying to talk me into buying more fruits. Salesmen. In no time I left that fruit stand happy and with a sack full of lemons!
When we were walking around town we ran into our French professor, Claudine! She’s a real gem, and deserves her own blog post just so I can tell you about how fabulous she is. We love her, and it was exciting to run into her at the market. She always gets a kick out of us introducing ourselves to her friends in French. It’s like she gets to show off her work. So we always tell any friend of hers that will listen, “Bonjour! Je me presante, je m’appelle Katie. Je suis americanine. Je suis volleyeuse professionelle.” For all you English-speakers that is, “Hello! Let me introduce myself. My name is Katie. I am American. I am a professional volleyball player.” When we do this Claudine always beams with pride, and we feel accomplished.
We also know a younger woman in town, Eve, who owns a local coffee and chocolate shop. She has been sweet to us. Literally, she gave us free chocolates. We like going to visit her at her shop because she’s always so happy that it puts us in a great mood. It also doesn’t hurt that she speaks English. We hadn’t seen her in a while because she was away on a trip to Australia. So we stopped by to invite her to our match on Sunday, and she was excited. Sure enough, the next day she was there in the stands cheering us on.
It is fun to have local people to visit, and we feel like we’re making friends around town. We’re starting to feel like we belong. Also, people have started to recognize us around town. I know I might be kind of hard to miss, but still. At our match the next day one of the fans came up to me and started asking me how I liked the market on Saturday. Mind you, I had no idea who this guy was, and he didn’t stop me at the market. I was being spied on. He approached me speaking fast and fluent French. Once again, I guess I must look like a local. 😉 My teammate kindly stepped in to translate. When this happens I usually just stand and smile while my teammates answer for me. I laugh when they laugh even though I have no idea what’s being said. Later on, I get filled in on what they talked about, and usually there wasn’t anything that funny. I definitely need more lessons with Claudine!
All in all, Market Day was beautiful and a great way to recharge. It was nice to get out into the town and breathe the fresh air. Wouldn’t you know, it didn’t even end up raining! It was a gorgeous sunny day, and we took it all in.