Halle handed me this clue as I got into her car for a "surprise pre-birthday adventure day" with her. I was super excited! We had reserved the date for a while, and since she wasn't going to be here on my actual birthday, we were celebrating early. Although, I had no idea what we were going to do! And this was my clue.
She said I had a while to think about it, she was going to start driving anyway. I figured out that we needed to go west, into the setting sun, but the rest was so hard! All she told me was that it was helpful I was bilingual... hmmmm.
On our way to this mysterious destination, she handed me several other wrapped packages, that were clues revealing what we were going to be doing. A bottle of barbecue sauce... the Gettysburg Address that we recited out loud...two plaid shirts...oh and a bandanna and straw hat. I was getting the western theme, but remember we're in Brittany, France -- American Western culture isn't a big thing in these parts. Plus, what did the Gettysburg Address and her first clue have to do with anything!? I was stumped, but very excited!!!
I fiiiiinnally figured out the clue, the name of the city was Pontivy, but I was stumped as to what this cute little Brittany city had in common with plaid shirts and cowboy hats. And then I saw this:
Do you see the American flag, cownboy hats, American scarves, etc?
Halle had found country line dancing-fest and we were going to take some classes in the afternoon! She had sneakily asked Joel for my shirt and hat, and gave me two pigtail braids and we were ready to go. I was very excited. I never imagined it would be possible to do this kind of thing, only an hour and a half away from Rennes!
And it was HILARIOUS seeing how America, especially the cowboy/western theme was portrayed by French people. The little stands selling stuff was full of random junk, trinkets, cowboy hats and boots, and native American stuff. We wondered if they actually sold stuff during their week-end event.
There was even a big semi truck that was all decked out. How many different American symbols can you fit onto one truck?!
So contrast some cliché American-ness with the beautiful, ancient castle that was the backdrop to all of this.
Not exactly the same style. It was really cool to walk all around the castle, dating back to 15th century.
But back to #cowboysanddancers
Remember how one of my clues was the Gettysburg Address? We don't really know why, but at the entrance of the main building, there was a historic Civil War tent set up, with 4 people dressed up to match. We don't really know what they were doing there, or how it related to line dancing. When we took this picture, they were enjoying a leisurely French meal with wine, a baguette, some cheese and ham.
And then the dancing (see the cowgirls up front?)
What we didn't know was that, though it was an afternoon open to anyone who wanted to come and learn how to line dance, 98% of the people there seemed to be a part of a line dancing club, and over the age of 50. They all seemed to know each other, and most of them knew the dances really well!
Not Halle and I! But that wasn't a problem to us! We jumped right in line, and did our best to learn all of the steps. They were HARD dances to learn!
Several times I found myself face to face with someone, and realized my turns hadn't quite been what they should have been. A couple other times, I stepped a few too many times to the left or right, and bumped into the older guy next to me, who had his thumbs in his belt loops and just nodded a curtesy nod as if to say "it's ok, but don't let that happen again." I was dying laughing. We realized halfway through the songs that the names of the steps they were teaching us were actually English words, and then a "ooooooooh that's what they're saying!" moment happened.
It was so much fun to spend the day with Halle and laugh and talk and enjoy seeing how a part of our American culture was perceived by some of these French people. We felt so cool since we were actually from America! :)
Oh, and here is a little clip of one of the dances: