This time to Alsace, I thought that I had arrived armed and prepared. Instead of watching another movie, I thought that I had wisely spent the last three hours of my journey: with head buried deep in chapters of "6.000 + Essential French Words," appropriate explaining my latest New York happenings and the saga of my wedding dress. Particularly important was my foresight this time from previous sejours, because of my status change. No longer just 'roommate' or 'girlfriend', I was now "la fiancee, part of "les futurs maries" and "la future belle-fille". While no exact chapter existed entitled "Words Every Bride Should Know to Explain Everything She Could Possibly Need to To Her Future Non-English Speaking In-Laws", I found appropriate terms under "Family and Relationships" and "Clothing".
However, as with most ventures in our lives, the level of their importance and our preparation equates with the speed and degree of our on- the- spot learning. In my case, my learning was expedited by the fact that my Mother-in-Law to be (in French, "Belle Mere". Don't you just love it? Beautiful Mother...) was getting married the day after my arrival. And as much as we all tried to allow her and her "marie" (groom) their day, because both ceremonies were being performed by the same "Mr. Le Mayor" at the same "Hotel de Ville" (city hall) in the same small village, her son's upcoming nuptials could not help but steal a bit of the spotlight. Barely had I sipped my celebratory champagne at their reception, that I was knee deep in questions about our "les dragees" (wedding favors), "emballer" (wrap) versus "les paniers" (baskets), and inter-cultural dialogue about the appropriatness of dark brown versus black shoes with a marine blue suit for a wedding! "If you asked me, I could write a book!" And, perhaps, for the sake of all American Brides in France, I will!!!