Sunday, May 5, 2013

A French Surprise during Spring Testing / Orientation

A few weeks ago during Spring Testing (LSU's orientation and advanced placement program for smart highschoolers), I was walking around campus, trying to avoid the hoards of highschoolers with free purple knapsacks wandering around cluelessly, I ran into a group of elderly(ish) people blocking the entire sidewalk. Once I realized they weren't moving, I circumvented them via the nearby parking lot.

But then when I got around to the other side of their huddle, I heard some French words being tossed around between them. I stopped and asked, "Vous ĂȘtes Français?" They all turned their heads. "Oui!" They were so excited to see a French speaker in LA! We continued to converse excitedly in French as I walked dangerously backwards across the Stadium Drive's crosswalk. Turns out most of them were professors from Paris, visiting Baton Rouge for some combination of vacationing and French-language-preservation.

One of the women suggested since my speaking skills were so good, I should go on the Ubaye Valley trip. I told her I already did! This woman, Madame Labat, said she worked here in Baton Rouge as a coordinator for Friends of French Studies. Remembering that they paid for part of my trip, I said "merci" more times than was probably necessary. The French people explained to me how important it was that we preserve the French language here in Louisiana, and why that was their mission.

I said "Au Revoir" and they went on to see le tigre (Mike). I'd had an exciting and interesting exchange with this group of people... and to think I almost walked right past them!

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