I can still speak French! I still love French! And I love New York!
Tonight I had dinner with my friends from Paris. Lionel and Sylvia were always the most welcoming and thoughtful locals when I moved there. Lionel turned me onto macarons (c’est vrai; I owe it all to him), Sylvia hosted wonderful dinner parties. They were cheeky and generous, fun and empathetic. And now they live here. We can dine and laugh together again.
We met for dinner at Vinegar Hill House, which I’ve been dying to go to. It was everything I was hoping it would be: sincerely cool and great food—the atmosphere and the dishes were inventive, but not tragically overdone (chicken pot pie was served as a little tart, on a cutting board; farmhouse wood planks were daint-ified with silver and china). Prices were right (an entrée for $14? I’ll take it!). Service was good (neither cloying nor disdainful). It was a great neighborhood spot. But more exciting than going to a great restaurant was speaking French again!
I haven’t give a thought to French since I’ve been home. Scratch that. Every time I have thought that I should practice, or find a group, or do some exercises, I banish the very thought immediately. The idea of challenging myself with anything foreign, of removing myself from the comfort zone in which I’ve been enveloped since arriving in New York, hasn’t been even remotely appealing. Jusqua ce soir. Tonight, I loved speaking French. I loved hearing French. I loved being part of a little group of Frenchies. For their friend, Yves, another Parisianne tres sympa was visiting from Paris. I loved feeling part of a gang. A French gang. In Brooklyn. It was one of my finest nights home yet.