Sunday, February 26, 2006

Vacation Recap

Our week in Gallargues went really well. On Wednesday, Jube, Belle-maman and I all went to Arles. The day was kind of gray and rainy, but we had a good time wandering the streets. Also, the Arles museum was free for the day, so we got to check it out.

On Thursday, we went to
Nîmes to meet some of Jube's friends, Herbé and Caro. They are a couple of music teachers who Jube met when he was completing is first year of stage in Alès. They have decided to get married this summer, and so they had come to Nîmes to de-PACS. PACSing is basically a civil union. Homosexuals can enter into a PACS, as can heterosexuals. It provides some of the rights of marriage, notably (in teachers' cases) benefits on where civil servants are placed throughout France. Herbé and Caro had PACSed a few years ago so they could both work in Alès; Jube and I PACSed in December 2004 so he wouldn't have to move to Paris (and I wouldn't have to move back to the US). Herbé told us that it was really funny when they went to de-PACS; both of them were smiling and holding hands, and the civil servant in charge told them that they didn't have to de-PACS since their marriage would automatically cancel it. But since they had driven for an hour, she did it anyway.

Jube and
Herbé originally bonded because of their love of guitars. In fact, Herbé saved up his salary for two years to have a guitar made especially for him. It cost him €3,600 (check it out here and here). After having a quick drink in a café, we all went to a guitar store. Caro and I chatted about her wedding plans while Jube and Herbé drooled over the instruments. Let's just say that when we entered the store, it was light outside, and when we left, it wasn't. Luckily that means that I can drag Jube to the mall with me whenever I want and I won't have to feel guilty.

Afterwards we went to Montpellier to have dinner with another couple of Jube's friends. These are friends that he's had since he was about 6 years old and they all lived in Mende. I've always had a hard time enjoying our dinners with them. This is because when I first met them, I couldn't speak any French at all; and then, even when I could speak some French, I discovered that half of the time they talk about "the good old days" when they harassed their German teacher or wrecked a friend's motorcycle and lied about it. Last night was really great, though, because we talked more about the present instead of the past (although there was an involved conversation about the new stores opening up in Mende).

All in all, we had a really great vacation, although I'm still not ready to go back to work tomorrow!

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