Sadly, my good friend Laura left Tours (and then she came back again a few weeks later for the weekend, but then left again for good). Such is the nature of expat life - people come and go and sometimes only stay for a short period of time (a year, in her case). On the upside, it means that expats are usually pretty open to meeting new people and making friends in a shorter time-frame than might be the norm (certainly for France!), but the downside is saying goodbye to your friends just as quickly. Of course these days it's much easier to stay in touch with things like facebook, and even though that's a poor substitute for real-life friendship, it does keep things ticking over in the hope that one day you might be able to reconnect with a handy network of people flung out all over the globe.
We hardly need an excuse, but of course people leaving also mean parties! I think Laura's leaving do was the week or so after I came back from Belgium, and we had a lovely evening consuming her left-over alcohol stocks (including too much of the aquavit I brought back from Norway for her - that stuff is lethal!), playing a game of Secret Santa where the prizes were all the little trinkets she hadn't managed to rehome or sell up to that point (I scored some tupperware and little serving dishes for dips or olives or what have you), and busting a groove to a dancing game on Xbox Live.
|This is hard to see, but I'm pretending to eat the box because it has "not for human consumption" written on it|
|Liz and Charlie. I wish I had their ways with scarves!|
|Liz, Philippa and Charlie|
|Me and Charlie|
|Me, Liz and Charlie|
|Me and Cute Neighbour. There is photographic evidence that I had my hand on his thigh for quite some time. Whoops!|
|Snapping a few selfies in the kitchen: no night is complete without it!|
That brings us to this weekend, which had all the makings of a classic: Saturday was the Fête des Vins de Borgeuil, Caro and Marcia wanted to watch the rugby on Saturday night, it was Philippa's birthday and St. Patrick's Day on Sunday, plus after the long winter break, the Formula One was finally back!
It was pretty rainy and miserable for the Fête des Vins, but that didn't stop us having a good time. How can you not have a good time at an event where you pay 2€ to buy a tasting glass (to keep) and then you can sample as much wine as you like? As well as the usual suspects, we were joined by a new friend Mel and her husband. In a Gwannel Sandiego first, I was emailed by Mel last week via the blog! I have met up with people, mostly in Paris, via the blog before, but this was the first time someone in Tours came across the blog and contacted me. It feels a bit weird - while I'm not silly enough to think it's not "out there" on the internet, I kind of don't think of it as something that people in Tours are going to be reading. But, that aside, we clicked really well, so it is great that it has brought us together. What was I saying at the beginning about expat life and making friends?
Liz and I stayed on at the Fête until nearly 7 pm, after everyone else had called it a day, which meant a bit of a mad rush when I got home to get showered and changed and redo my ruined nail polish (I need to learn it's never a good idea to try to rush doing your nails), while watching a replay of the F1 qualifying from the morning (it actually got rained off, but I still wanted to watch it again because there was a lot of action before that).
And then off to stand in the pub while the rugby was on. We were pretty late, but seeing that I stood with my back to the screen, I didn't care. Poor Scottish flower Caroline was a bit deflated by the result though, and ended up going home not much later. As for me, I stayed on until closing time (2 am) but considering we had started at the wine festival at 2 pm, I decided not to go out clubbing and probably got home around 3 (after quite some time of wandering around collectively trying to decide what to do/chatting in the street). I probably should have got some sleep, but I tried to stay awake to watch the F1 at 7. I actually did quite well, only falling asleep for the last half an hour or so, and then unfortunately waking up to get a glimpse of the podium ceremony, so I spoiled the result for myself. Oh well.
|The Tours Goat has made an appearance on the blog before, but I had to take a snap of him all gussied up with balloons!|