Tag Archives: random conversations

>change of plans, interesting man.

20 Dec

>Sometimes plans change without warning, and you’re left to make up something new. However bummed I was at this morning’s change of plans, keeping me from the sunny seas, I decided to take a little time to myself and finally, almost one year later, check out the Fort Fleur d’epée in Grande-Terre. The sign, in English, said it would open at 9, so I had a half hour to wait. I enjoyed the view from outside the fort for a moment and went to wait in the shade. There was a man walking with his dog and I said bonjour, which was met with a smile, a bonjour, and “you’re learning French…” From there we started a conversation that would last half of an hour. He did most of the talking, which is fine with me. I am generally about three sentences behind in any given French language conversation. This means when it’s my turn to respond, I stare blankly, then fidget with my hands, raise and lower my eyebrows, offer a stupid smile, make some filler noise ala ‘uhhhh’… while I try to somehow create the words I need. Pretty hilarious to see someone who talks with their hands when they know the language to try and speak a new language.
I got to learn quite a bit during this small chat. Christian is an ex police officer, and has gone to Boston before to work with police units there on various things. He finds the people in Boston to be extremely easy to work with, but difficult to get to know personally. I offered the idea that while people in the northeast can be perceived this way, once you get past the seemingly tough exterior, you’ll find very straightforward people, down to earth. He agreed.
He told me some stories of his family, going back centuries…while I still miss some precise details in French, I got most of it. Christian has a cousin in a small town in France, and his family came from there long ago. When they came to Guadeloupe he believes they were not entirely welcome, but they made their living having started with nothing. I think his father was a police officer also. His son is 37. Christian told me that Davy Crocket has French ancestry, which I did not know. He told me the story of Boudin sourdough bakery in San Francisco, which I partly knew, but it was nice to hear the stories from his perspective, to hear of the French guys who came to America during the gold rush and began making bread using the unique wild yeast they discovered.
Christian told me my accent was ‘charmant’, which makes me happy because it’s progress from people saying that the few words I knew were pronounced well. If I have an accent, I must be speaking, right? Woohoo! He told me that he walks each day there, if I wanted to walk with him and his dog and speak French and hear stories. How nice. He’s my father’s age I imagine. It was such an interesting conversation. The older I get, the more I realize the people ahead of me in age know some interesting stuff.
The fort had not opened at 9:35, so I decided to leave. Pity really, because in addition to the cool rooms of the fort, there is also an art exhibition there right now. I’ll head back soon enough. All in all, the change in plans ended up in an interesting meeting. I love when that happens.

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