As we immerse ourselves deeper and deeper into French culture (I have now burrowed down about 3.6 centimetres), we are now even tackling games. Word games. In French. I kid you not.
Just last week, for example, we were invited for a “games” evening at the home of our part-time neighbour, Françoise. (She is “part-time” because her home in Daglan, on the village’s main square, is only a holiday home. She and her German husband live most of the year near Hanover, and spend vacation time here.) She had invited my wife and me, plus two other neighbours, for a relaxing word game that is a bit like Pictionary. We each wrote down words (French words, of course) on small slips of paper, put them in a bowl, and then took turns pulling out a slip. Then your task was to make the person sitting on your right guess what the word was. To do that, you would first pull a card that would tell you how you had to communicate the word — expliquer, mimer, or dessiner. That is, you would explain (expliquer) the word, or act it out (mimer), or make a drawing (dessiner) that would illustrate it. Whew.
Believe it or not, we did okay. As a concession to the English-speakers around the table, my wife and I were allowed to refer to a French dictionary, just in case we had no idea what the word we drew from the bowl meant. Among the successes: I succeeded in acting out “ris de veau” (sweetbreads) so that Michelle could guess it, and successfully illustrated “générale” — by drawing a cartoon of Charles de Gaulle. My much-more-fluent wife of course did very well.
Unable to leave well enough alone, we are diving right back into word play. So tomorrow night, Françoise is coming over to our house for a rousing game of trilingual Scrabble — words can be in English, French, or German. We just won’t worry about where the accents go.