In my little caravan room.
I wrote this blog:
So I arrived in Lavaur, which is in the South West of France on Thursday. I got off the train to John and his 6 year old son Tom who welcomed me with open arms and a chocolate Kit Kat bar.
I arrived at their house on top of hill with a beautiful view of the little village I’m in named Ambre. The houses and church are quite old and some of them date back to the 15th century. I love it.
John comes from Newcastle in England but has been living in France for the past 27 years, and he admitted that he’s actually lost some of his English. I really didn’t think it was possible to lose a little bit of your home language, but well I guess France is his new home now.
His wife Sarahlouu comes from Thailand and speaks fluent Thai and French, and is learning English. So Tom their son knows Thai, English and French at the age of six! He is going to make quite the traveller!
So I’m Wwoofing on this farm and how that works is I help them with whatever tasks they need Monday – Friday 5 to 6 hours a day. And in return I have free accommodation, food and other expenses covered like if we go out sometime. I love it, I love how no money leaves my bank account but I also love how free they are. If we go out into a market, they would ask would you like anything? Would like a coffee? A cake? Most of the time I say no, but I love the generosity and how simple it all is.
Its also good to be away from the city, I’m not really to into the whole city life and being in the Fast and Furious series, although that still was a lot of fun! I am much more fond of small villages and how fresh and organic the food is, how each and every house as its own bit of history in previous wars. And going for a walk, is almost a guarantee that I’ll get lost and it makes it that much better. Because you find so much more beauty when you don’t expect it.
Last night, John and his family took me out to a new tenpin bowling center that has just opened up. Two other couples came along and we met them there. And to be honest at the beginning I hated it. Because everyone was going on in French and I had no idea what was the topic and I couldn’t contribute. And then I thought; I knew this was going to happen, I knew sometimes I would feel left out, but just try. Try and talk, try and contribute to the conversation.
A husband who was with us whenever he was about to bowl he would dance to the music and do a flashy move when he bowled. Some of his bowls were actually quite impressive and his dance moves were even better.
So that’s when it came my turn to bowl, to involve myself in conversation, to contribute and to have common ground in conversation; I did my impression of the moonwalk (I surprised myself big time due to how slippery the floor was) and I bowled whilst doing the moonwalk and somehow I got a strike. The crowd roared, and I questioned whether I should stop travelling and pursue a career in being a professional tenpin bowler or be an upcoming Michael Jackson.
And after that moonwalk strike I started talking to this dude and although it took us ages to overcome the language barrier; we shared so many laughs. And it turns out this guy was from Africa and was actually an upcoming football player and he was going to sign with BARCELONA F.C WHEN HE WAS 18!
But he had a massive leg injury and couldn’t continue his career. I couldn’t pronounce his name well, so from there onwards I always called him ‘Barcelona’.
The other guy spoke quite good English and we chatted about travel, Australia, our thoughts on Vegemite and life in general. It was great, and it turns it out he is pilot, not a commercial pilot but he has a plane and he wants to take me on board and show me the countryside from the sky. I’m super keen, and I hope it works out.
Another guy came later on and he was from Tahiti, and he works for the French Foreign Elite Legion! So he could like kill me several times in a matter of a seconds, so that was a little frightening. But the more we talked, the more we laughed and the more I watched him give hysterical acts of how each nationality behaves in the army. For America he yelled ‘Burger King’ and pretended to through hamburgers as if they were grenades.
Australians! Listen up. Little did I know that if you’re from Australia everyone and I mean everyone wants to buy you a beer and literally watch you consume it due to the stereotype. After 3 or 4 pints at the tenpin bowling center and then a few more at ‘Barcelona’s’ house, and as my head started to spin more and more.
And towards 1 am with all the conversations, jokes and laughs that were going on, I became exhausted. So we had coffee. Just a regular espresso coffee? No of course not, I’m in France not Italy. ‘Barcelona’ gave me my regular espresso then poured a heap of brandy to ‘spice it up’. There is literally no escape.
When I somehow made it to my bed early in the morning and was about to sleep, I looked back and thought what if I didn’t do that ‘moonwalk’. What if I just sat there and bowled when it was my turn and just kept to myself. Would I of known that ‘Barcelona’ used to be an upcoming prospect, to meet an elite legion dude and that an opportunity has come up for me to fly in a plane? And more importantly to just have a fun night, make some friends, listen to some of their adventures in life and learn French.
So another lesson learned. Keep putting myself out there, keep being friendly and most of all have patience. It was nearly impossible to communicate to ‘Barcelona’ because of the language barrier, but somehow we did it. We both needed patience, and now? Well we still have the language barrier, but it’s as funny as hell.