Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dating in France: March-April, 2014

The First Date- Nancy, France

Soon after meeting for the first time, I left for a few weeks to do some traveling. I managed to get to (with Olimpia!) Brussels, Amsterdam, Munich, Vienna, and Prague. The trip turned out amazing! I thought I’d mention it in order to explain the gap between meeting for the first time and the first date.

Me and David were in contact a little bit over Facebook messages during my travels. When I got back to France, he invited me to come hang out for a day in Nancy. Actually, before that, he asked me if I was going to the YSA weekend in Switzerland coming up in a few months. I told him that I would already be back in the U.S., which I think encouraged him to get a move on...

I was kind of nervous to spend a whole day alone with someone I didn’t know very well... but I was also excited to get out and see a new city, and maybe even make a French friend. On March 22, 2014, I found myself taking the train up north to Nancy from Strasbourg. David met me at the train station and we set off to walk around the city.

We walked around the pretty parts of  Nancy’s old town for a few hours, including Place Stanislas, a few cathedrals, and a little art museum. I need to mention that at one point it started drizzling and he said it was “dizzling.”  It still makes me happy to remember that.

For lunch we went to Buffalo Grill, an American-themed restaurant. Of course he would be the one to find that. I enjoyed hanging out and being entertained while hearing for the first time about David’s weirdly intense love for America. The next things we did were also fairly American-themed. We went bowling and saw the movie Monuments Men (but en français). It was a pretty long day for a first date, but I would say it was a success. There weren’t awkward moments during the day, and we had lots of things to talk about. 

On the way back to the train station for me to head home, he asked me if he could come to Strasbourg sometime to hang out. J’ai dit oui.


The Second Date- Strasbourg, France

Two weeks later, on April 5, I met David at the Strasbourg train station. This time, I was the tour guide! The only places he had ever been in Strasbourg were the ward building and a test-taking center. So that doesn’t count.

We walked around Petite France, the old part of the city with lots of canals, for a few hours. Of course, a visit to Strasbourg wouldn’t be complete without a stop in my cathedral. 

Then we took the tram to the more modern part of the city for lunch and a movie. This was the only time in my life that I’ve seen a super hero movie- it was the 2nd Captain America one. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I didn’t like super hero movies since he was so excited to see a Captain America movie with a real-live American. It ended up being okay though!

This day ended up being a lot like the one we’d had in Nancy. It was fun to get to know each other more. Before he left, he suggested that we meet up later that week at a castle that was sort of between our cities. Dating in Europe is fun! Why yes, David... yes I will meet you at a castle. 

That was the first moment that I knew he for sure liked me, since he wanted to hang out again just a few days later. Time was running out... I was headed home to America about 2 weeks later!

The Third Date- Château de Lunévile, France

As promised, we met up just a few days later at a castle in the Lorraine region. We started out the afternoon by having lunch together. During that lunch, David was told me about an Irish professor he had. I joked that he should try to do an Irish accent. He laughed, and I thought that was the end of it. Nope. About 15 minutes later, I realized that he’d been trying (and thinking he was successfully doing) an Irish accent the whole time. The “accent” he was doing was literally the EXACT SAME as his normal accent: as in, French. I still laugh thinking about this. In David’s defense, I can’t do an Irish accent either... and English is my native language.

After finishing lunch and finishing speaking in nonexistent Irish accents, it was time to explore the castle. It was a beautiful and quaint little place where the dukes of Lorraine used to live. The inside part that you could tour was small, but there was a big garden outside. Since it was a sunny spring day (and one of the first ones that year!), we sat in the garden for a while.

And by a while, I mean we sat there so long that I almost missed my train. We totally lost track of time and talked for maybe 4-5 hours on the same little bench. We ended up having to rush back to the train station to make it in time, and we did with 2 minutes to spare despite getting a little lost on the way back. This day in Lunéville ended up being both of our favorite dates in France.

The Fourth Date- Strasbourg, France

Just 2 days after the lovely sunny day in Lunéville, yet another YSA activity was scheduled in Strasbourg. David took the train down a few hours before the activity started for some extra Marissa time.

We took a fun tourist boat ride around the old town of Strasbourg. For lunch, we found an Italian restaurant in Petite France. That became the historic location of David telling me that he liked me for the first time. Oh la la. I’m retroactively laughing a little bit at how nervous he was.

We're still not good at taking selfies... being on a boat made it even harder. Don't judge.
After that, we very conspicuously walked in late to the YSA activity. Everyone turned their heads to stare at us with knowing looks in their eyes. The activity consisted of some more dumb games, another CES devotional en français, and then a dance. 

David had unfortunately already made me promise that I would stay for the whole activity. I have hated church dances with a passion ever since I went to my first church dance when I was 14. The awkwardness multiplies when there are only 10 (at the most) other people in the small room and they are ALL gossiping in French about you dating each other. There was so much staring happening. 

We spent the night dans le coin (the corner, my favorite place to sit when I don’t want to talk to other people). Despite the awkward other people, at least we enjoyed talking to each other (not dancing, but that’s okay... preferable, actually). Most of the others were from other cities and were carpooling home, but I had to take the bus. David walked me out to the bus stop. I’m thankful he didn’t kiss me then, because bus stops outside of ward buildings after awkward church dances are so not romantic. Even in France.

To be continued...

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