Today I spent two hours at the French Library and Cultural Center in Boston, volunteering at their booksale. It was pretty fun. I'm friendly with the librarian there, and I thought it would be fun to hang out and speak French. My French is sort of miserable but I have to put myself in situations where I have to use it once in a while. It's more of an anxiety thing; I'm sure I'm fully capable. I used to be a member of the library as well when I lived in Boston and needed a pied-a-terre in the downtown area.
The library itself is lovely- cozy, intimate and packed with French books. Kids' books, popular fiction, classics, hot-off-the-presses French literary raves and bestsellers. Also music and DVDs. The librarian is smart, friendly and very helpful. It's located on a quiet side street just steps from the shopping and restaurants of trendy Newbury Street.
Okay, do I sound like a tourist information pamphlet? I seriously love this place. When I lived in Boston I went there all the time, for the movies, to read, for parties now and then. Every year they have a big block party for Bastille Day, the July 14 French national holiday. And every week they have all kinds of language lessons (all ages and skill levels), lectures and other special events. This morning the place was awash in cute little French-speaking kids. Once they spent a month doing programming on Lebanon, because of the cultural-colonial ties between it and France, and I went to a really great lecture on the Arabic language with a friend who was married to a native speaker. I've been to the Bastille Day party several times and movies and other things on many occasions. When I was single it was one of my go-to places to take guys on dates. Gotta find out how they feel about the French before things to go too far, right?
So back to the booksale. I had a great time. I spent two hours selling old and new books to a diverse group of folks but Francophiles all. And I got a free dictionary. Merveilleux!