Though I was so longing to go hang with my girlfriends, Dr. B had arranged a dinner out with the people in his lab. We were to meet at Le Cèdre d'Or, a lebanese restaurant in the third arrondissement. Dr. B was a bit nervous, as the conversation would be in French and he has a little trouble keeping up. I was just tired, but knew this would be a nice chance to get to know some of his colleagues.
Unfortunately, the pants I wanted to wear were dirty. (Dangit!) Though I've been eating way too much due to Dad's visit, I dared to pull out my stash of Pants That Only Fit When I'm Thin (which so far has been approximately Never). I was surprised when one pair, though a bit tight, didn't look too awful. The top I was wearing came down over the part I wasn't happy with, so I decided to go with it. It was a particularly warm night, so I wore my new shoes. Yipee!
We were, of course, late (we're always late), but we found it. The restaurant was nicely furnished, with cloth napkins and tablecloths, and soft music playing in the background. Following a long round of cheek-kissing, we settled in for a meal. Everyone ordered the menu gourmet (about 17 euros), which included a sampler plate of entrées (tabouli, hummus, and two types of little meat-filled fried things that I can't name but were really yummy), a main dish (mine was kofta with rice, flatbread and salad--they look like dog turds, but they taste great!), dessert and tea or coffee. The food was delicious, though slow in coming, so we had lots of time to talk. After our initial nervousness, the conversation started to flow, and I found it was easy to keep up. Since much of my french conversation skills come from talking with an 8 and 11 year old, I didn't quite know if I would be able to hold up the conversation, but it wasn't too hard. The main problem came from a certain voice which was pitched just a bit too low to be distinguished from the background noise (and he was on my side of the table, two people away), but since that person didn't talk much, it worked out. I had to translate a bit for Dr. B, but he did remarkably well. His french is a little slow, and has errors, but he does make himself understood. (I am so proud of him!)
After we finished our meal, the chef came out to greet us, and spoke to one of Dr. B's colleagues because he was Lebanese and knew the owners of the restaurant. After we drank our tea and coffee and paid, he came out again to apologize for the slowness (seems he had received a call about a family member being in the hospital) and brought a bottle of after-dinner liqueur for us to enjoy.
We headed home on the Métro, joined by some members of the group who were headed in our direction. R, a lab member from Spain, commented to Dr. B (in English) that he must be about worn out with the French speaking at dinner. He told him that his French had improved a lot in just the last month (weird, as this is the month when we've had the most English speakers here), and that he was doing very well. He also told him that Dr. B's English was easy for him to understand--because of the pace of his speech. So many English speakers speak so quickly, but DB doesn't, partially because he knows how hard it is to try to understand another language, but also partially because he likes to stretch things out, take advantage of the dramatics of what he's saying. (He was the president of his HS Thespian Society.)
All in all, a delicious meal with an excellent rapport qualité/prix (value for the money), and a lovely night.
- Le Cèdre d'Or
13, Rue Commines
Métro: Filles du Calvaire
01 42 77 79 25