Just a brief post including my plans for the next two weeks and a very funny story.
I am leaving Saturday afternoon for...ITALY! Spring vacation is two weeks long here so I will be spending the first 5 days with my dear friend Julie who lives in Milan. We are going to take a day trip to Lake Como in the Italian Alps. Then, for Easter (and my birthday) weekend, Lauren (my friend in London) and my Julie here with me in Nantes are both flying to Italy. The 4 of us are going to Cinque Terre (look up pictures on line, it's gorgeous)...five little villages built into the cliffs on the Italian coast line, connected by hiking trails (no cars allowed). After our relaxing weekend, I will be heading south to meet my Grandma Ginger and Papa John in La Spezia. We are planning to visit the village of my great-great grandmother in Tuscany...and then onto Florence for a couple of days. I will put up pictures and stories when I return!
Ok, and for the funny story before I have to go pack...
As you all should know, the presidential elections in France are this spring. Nearly every other conversation I have concerns politics. There are 2-3 major contenders: Segolene Royal of the socialist party (the major liberal party in France), Nicolas Sarkozy head of the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement, the major conservative party in France), and pulling suprisingly into the competetion more recently, Francois Bayrou (a used-to-be-UMP-member dissenchanted with the battle between the major political parties pulling a middle ground ticket). My conservative Catholic family is fanatic about Sarkozy. Two weekends ago, Sarkozy's campaign tour brought him to the Zenith (a huge stadium) in Nantes. Exstatic, my family reserved places and invited me to join...a once in a life-time opportunity that I jumped on! I sat in the student section at the Zenith with a giant SARKOZY poster and a French flag...cheering crazily on signal regardless of whether or not I understood what was going on. (note for all of my French friends: I was enjoying the experience...not necessarily agreeing with the politics). I sat next to my host sister Anne-Edith and she explained each of the political figures that spoke before Sarko etc. Welllll, on of those political figures was Francois Pinte who is running for Mayor of Nantes. He was a dynamic speaker, very engergetic. Then Sarko spoke, we all went nuts and finished by standing and singing the Marseillaise (the French national anthem).
jumping forward two weeks...
Last weekend downtown Nantes was packed for the annual spring side-walk sale. I was navigating my way through masses of people toward my lunch rendez vous point on the steps of the theater, where, upon arriving, I find Sam talking to this man in a suite. He introduces me, "M Pinte, I present you to Brianne", "Brianne, Francois Pinte." I say "hi" confusedly, and proceed to mention that M Pinte looks familiar to me.
"You probably saw him and the Sarko rally," Sam says.
"Oh, that's it! You really livened up the audience at the Zenith!" I exclaimed. ( a compliment avoiding any political affiliation).
Suddenly, his camera man appears from behind and says,
"That's perfect with your accent! We are going to be so multicultural on our web-site!"
so, here I am, the new poster young person with a cute accent encouraging all Nantais to vote Francois Pinte for the 2007 elections: http://www.francoispinte.fr/videos.php3
(I follow the secretary general of the UMP! click on the link beneath the video box that says "micro trottoir: reaction au discours du Zenith")
Happy Easter to all,