Rules of the Game, Part II

Rule #4:The Carpenters were so right, Rainy days and Mondays always get me down. Especially when they team up and happen on the same day. And especially when your bus comes 20 minutes late and your standing in the rain waiting.

Rule #4.5: The bus is always freakin’ late. jwgjwekgjakgkwjgw;gae!

Rule #5: All hands on deck at the table. When the time comes for lunch, dinner or even the midday snack, it’s considered a bit strange here to keep your hands in your lap while you eat. This is contrary to every rule my wonderful Grandma ever taught me and, in fact, I’m pretty sure she’d be mortified to see everyone at the table (myself included!) eating their meals with their elbows à coté de their plates.

Rule #6: There’s no need to apologize for calling someone and interrupting their dinner. Again, something contrary to a Vitali family rule and something that, I’m pretty sure, goes hand in hand with the mentality that whoever is receiving your phone call is lucky you’re taking the time to call them at all thus, you’re having that conversation regardless. In my experience there are certain times you know just not to call someone at home – in my opinion it’s not before 10am and not during the hours of potential dinner, I’d say 6-9pm. Here, no one cares. My host mom (who is the sweetest woman and is doing this not because it’s rude but just simply acceptable) took at least 3 phone calls from her multiple family members during our Sunday night dinner. I could hear the loud and irritated “SIGH” of Sweet Lou in my head from the days (not long ago) when I used to field any type of phone call at the table. I knew it was just a normal thing to talk to the phone when I ended up having to put my fork in Marie Claire’s rabbit so she could use her free hand to cut a piece of meat and chew mid-conversation. She found this useful and we continued as such for the rest of her phone calls.

Rule #7: Boys will be boys. On Saturday night I spent some time with my American girlfriends and some French boys who we met thanks to the AUCP Language Partner program which, the more I’m seeing, is just potentially a glorified for people who want to be bilingual and get a real head start on French Kissing 101. Anyway, after getting on the ever-so-intellectual subject of how to translate “Aw skeet, skeet mother fucker” into French (this explanation was one for the books, really) the boys confided in us that when they started learning English they took it upon themselves to look up “only the dirty words.” Oh the motivation! So while they don’t know how to ask where the bathroom is, their sexual vocabulary is truly impressive and they were more than ecstatic to learn a new phrase. Part of me wants to be there when they unleash it on some unexpecting American. The other part of me wants to be far away so I don’t accidentally get killed when the said-unsuspecting American reacts to being told to “bend over to the front and touch your toes.”

Rule #8: This weekend when I take on Paris, “we’re from Holland!” Just for precautions. I have my “Cultural Manifesto” that essentially solves all problems of worldly intolerance, famine and drought but I’m thinking of reserving it’s posting for sometime later this week. I don’t wanna go all Ghandi on you so early in the week. It is, afterall, only Monday. And raining.

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