Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thurs 4 Feb - (Trying) to Meet the Locals

Went back to a nearby café for the 3rd time. This is the kind of place where people drink tea, read and socialise with friends and strangers. I had a conversation with the very friendly owner about how long he had run this place, where he came from and what he thought of Mons. Lots of small talk; not easy in a different language, and for me, as you'll know, not even easy in English. But, he made it very easy for me and spoke slowly and I got the gist of most of what he was saying.

Ended up also having a long chat with a student about why he wanted to learn English, what he was studying and why he knew the names of dozens of English rock bands but couldn't name a single Belgian one. A very worthwhile couple of hours, chatting with whoever had the patience to chat with me. And most people are really very accommodating and encouraging when you speak to them. Many of them do actually speak quite a bit of English but seem reluctant to do so. And, when we do lapse into English I soon make sure we're speaking in French again. My aim is to speak as little English in Mons as possible.

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