As the weather starts to turn cold and our renovations are slowing down until the spring (unfortunately for my desire to have a clean and functional bathroom...but at least we have a toilet again!), I've been working on motivating myself to try to get out of the house and meet some new people. I have a lot more free time now that we are taking a bit of a break with the major renovations and my in-laws aren't always here. All of this free time is making me realize just how badly I need to meet some more people and make some friends here in Bordeaux. After a long day of work cooped up in the house I just want to get out, see people and do things and Lionel is quite the homebody. So, despite nearly three weeks of constant rain, last Tuesday I forced myself out of the house.
I've been a member of meetup.com since living in Paris, originally using it as a feeble attempt at networking when I was unemployed. But in the end I found a few groups I really enjoyed and I would attend their meetups whenever possible. Then, when Lionel and I moved to Ohio, we used it to find other French speakers in the Cincinnati area. So, now that I'm in a brand new city where I know almost no one, I thought it would be the perfect way to meet some new people. And that is how I found myself at Bu Bar à Vins in downtown Bordeaux last Tuesday for the Afterwork in English.
Afterwork in English is a group for people who want to have the opportunity to speak English here in Bordeaux and they meet once a month at a wine bar in the center of town. There are some native speakers who are expats or students here in Bordeaux and a lot of non-native speakers (mostly French) who want the opportunity to practice their English. Most of the non-native speakers seem to have spent some time living in Anglophone countries and now that they are back in France they don't want to lose their English.
At first I was a little nervous because sometimes I can be a bit shy when meeting new people and I find that as I get older I am becoming more and more awkward with polite conversation and new social interactions (I'm not really sure why but this could probably be the topic of an entire blog post). I even almost changed my mind about going at the last minute but then I told myself I shouldn't be ridiculous and I should just get out there and meet some new people. I am very happy I listened to my more reasonable side! As soon as I arrived I started chatting with two French girls who spoke English very well and the next thing I knew it was almost midnight on a Tuesday night and definitely time to head home!
About 40 people showed up for English conversation, wine and a few activities including a quiz in English. Unfortunately our team didn't win, but we actually did surprisingly well. Not only did I have a lot of fun but I also really liked the location. Bu Bar à Vins is a small and modern wine bar in the center of Bordeaux and they have a great wine selection, good food and reasonable prices. Overall I really enjoyed the Afterwork in English meetup and I definitely plan to go again next month!