As an Au Pair in France attending French class was mandatory. I had no problem with this stipulation being I was there to learn the language and become French. I also honestly wasn’t about to spend all day every day in a village with 100 people!
So about three times a week I went into Dijon and studied all aspects of the French language at L’Alliance Francaise. It ended up being the best thing I ever did because I met all of my friends at school, something that is not easy to do once you hit a certain age.
I’m not saying that I am old, but once you leave the bubble of college and academia there are limited resources to rencontrer des gens. Sure there are the nights out at a bar or you could always go out with your friend’s friends. There are also those weird set-ups which start by someone saying, “you would really get along with so-and-so.” These conversations lead to what I will call friend-dates. They highly resemble blind date situations but might actually be more awkward, if possible.
So last month, when I moved to NYC I found myself in a situation much like my last year in France: I had very few friends to call up and go out with. I have no problem reaching out to old friends (I’ve actually enjoyed that), or tagging along with another friend’s group, but there is something to be said about having your own friends to call up. Someone to grab a coffee with, try a new restaurant or come with you to an event you heard about but don’t want to go to solo.
Think back to the last time you met a friend. It was probably move-in day in college, the first day of class, or the day you finally went to that class at the gym (because just joining the gym doesn’t usually lead to making friends. Too many sweaty preoccupied people with headphones on). Wherever it was, chances are it was an organized event.
So when you’re social, single, moving to a new city and working 9-5, there are limited options for friends.
Besides needing some side-kicks in my life, I also have been feeling a longing for that home away from home: France. Go figure! The past few nights have been spent with French movies (Paris and L’arnacoeur) and I wake up from my French dreams (no really I am still dreaming and thinking in French) and want so badly to speak French to anyone who I come across. Oh la la, j’ai une probleme!
Last night I decided to take a hold of my French nostalgia and check out the possibility of French in NYC. Familiar with the Alliance Francaise, I knew the NYC organization was extensive. So after a quick tour of the site I decided to head uptown and check it out.
The first Tuesdays of the month are busy there. Movies are shown, fairs are presented, conversation hours are enjoyed and a 30-minute free class is offered every hour from 4-7pm. My plan: go to a free class and check out the scene. As you all know by now, my plans usually take detours and last night was no exception. In the process of keeping with “the plan,” I got to talking with the director and she explained how the membership and school were different. We decided that for me, someone who just wants to talk and keep up with French culture, a membership might be better than classes. So I gave my free class to the grateful person behind me (it was the last spot) and headed upstairs for some wine and conversation.
What a great choice it was too because I ended up meeting some friends! YAY 🙂
One night and I find an outlet for my French and some friends! All I had to do was pay a fee…. But that just might be the price of friendship for the mid-twenties crowd.