Today is my last day here and my first full day of vacation. I finished my environment essay on Wednesday, Thursday was my last class at Alliance Francaise and today is the first day when I have absolutely no demands (except to pack my suitcase and clean up the apartment a bit). It’s a strange mental space for me to be in. Uncomfortable and restless-making. I’m someone who is used to juggling multiple tasks and to have no tasks at all is bizarre terrain to traverse.

On Wednesday night, after finishing my essay I went out in search of a place to watch the World Cup. I decided to stop at the very first place I encountered, which is the bar at the corner of my block. I thought it would become “my local” when I first arrived but this was actually the first time I patronized it since being here. It’s a small, often busy establishment with a couple of big screen TVs. Germany was playing Ghana and there were about 7 other people in the bar, all German, I soon discovered. The woman at the table next to me kept shouting angrily at the players in German or encouraging them with a hearty “Ya-VOHL! YAH-VOHL!”

Then, the man beside her said, “Madamoiselle… mademoiselle…” and I realized he was speaking to me. I turned and he handed me a German flag, much to the delight of the others in the bar. It was a big flag and I didn’t know what to do with it (especially since I was kind of hoping Ghana would win because I thought it would be nice for one African country to advance when the Cup was being played on their continent for the first time.) I kind of held it and rested it on the table. My dinner eventually arrived (which was surprisingly delicious) so I gave the flag back to the man to make room for it on the small bistro table. After Germany scored, every 10 minutes or so he would ask me if the game was to my liking. I said yes and then said in French that it didn’t really matter to me who won. I later discovered that he doesn’t speak French so he didn’t probably understand what I said.

Germany won the game (although both Germany and Ghana advance, so I was happy), and the group in the bar was delighted. They invited me to join them as well as some young German girls who had come in partway through the game and then they bought a round of drinks for everyone. I was wondering if this kind of thing happens in Toronto. I never go to bars/restaurants on my own there (nor have I really ever noticed anyone eating alone there). Would I would be invited to join a group in Toronto? Would I invite someone to join my group? I want to try this when I get back. It’s the second time it’s happened here, and in general I feel that people are just more chatty with strangers in Nice.

It turns out that the young girls were scouting locations for a film they are making and they were returning to Austria the next day. I told them I am going to Vienna and they gave me their email addresses and said we should meet up there. So nice! As a parting gift, the group of Germans gave me this beach bag/knapsack thing in the German flag’s colours. Too funny.

Me and my souvenir of the evening.

Yesterday, I just ran errands after class and met up with Lina and Denise (classmates) to watch the New Zealand vs. Paraguay game and Italy vs. Slovakia game, which were on at the same time. Denise is from NZ and Lina’s boyfriend is Italian. Both teams risked elimination if they didn’t win and also needed to do better than the other to advance, so Denise and Lina were quasi-rivals during the games. Neither of their teams won, so both are out, but it was fun to watch with people who reeeally wanted the teams to win. After the game we went to the same rooftop bar that I’d been to with Leon, Florent and Florence. It was lovely again.

Denise and I apparently find something VERY amusing on the roof.

Denise and Lina, looking much more composed.

I had run into my landlady in the morning and she said she was having friends over that night and invited me to join them for dinner so I had to leave the bar a bit early and head home. Dinner was nice—a simple chilli—but I didn’t understand as much of the conversation as I’d have liked. There was a lot of talk of French politics and ironic banter and in-jokes, most of which had to be explained to me. Still, I’m glad I went just to sharpen my ear a bit as I head off.

Au revoir, Nice. Bonjour, Vienne. Jetzt muss ich Deutsch lernen.

One Response to “Yah-Vohl!”

  1. Petra Says:

    bonne vacance?! Look forward to having you home soon!

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