Today for the first time since Nathan and Celia started their new school, I went to the school during lunch. Nathan has a bit of the flu and a fever so I got the old come-pick-your-son-up call. The person at the front desk said Nathan was at lunch and that I should go look for him myself.
In the courtyard of the school, there was so much energy being let free! Boys running and jumping and playing some type of ball game. Finally, I found Celia coming out of the cafeteria with her friends Laura and Hortense. I asked her to tell Nathan that I was waiting for him in the courtyard. After she went back into the cafeteria to get him, Celia's friends were looking at me as if I were some sort of curiosity out of a museum. I introduced myself to them and they to me. Then Laura said she was the one that called our house the other night. Celia returned and she and I talked about some little nothings when I noticed that the two girls were once again looking at the two of us with awe. It turns out that hearing American English being spoken is so foreign to them that they are simply entranced to hear it in conversation.
After entertaining them with more back and forth, Nathan came out and we left. On the way out, I ran into Celia's British friend Rosalie and stopped to chat with her. Her two French lunchmates got the same look of wonderment on their faces as Celia's friends had. It is just so interesting to have people so intrigued by your language. It's as if they cannot imagine how we can speak like we do.
On the way home Nathan said that the kids always are so interested in listening to him and Celia when they speak English to each other. All of the kids are required to take English and it is third in line of importance after science and math in the curriculum and with the parents. For some, it is the first time they are hearing English being spoken in live conversation by native speakers. Quite a different experience.