Sunny days are back so Mademoiselle Bia and I took our French lessons to Balaring, a strip of seafood restaurants in Silay City. It was noon on a Friday, and so Balaring was not blaring with videoke pollution. We had the cottage all to ourselves – to our two giant selves— and I swear, I think I felt the cottage sway nervously after our long, languorous lunch of talaba, gambas, ginataang alimusan and kinilaw. Earlier, I had thought of going for the safer, grilled food for my European guest. The last thing I wanted to see was Bia losing faith in local gastronomy, much like how she gagged after I let her try Indian mango with patis, sinamak and salt. But today she was feeling adventurous with her fruits de mer choices. It was a great lunch only that, we did not know what ginataang alimusan and kinilaw were in French.
We stuck to the basics like enriching my French vocabulary. Une fourchette, une cuillere, la nappe, . The next time I’m meeting her, I should be saying words in French, like hand me the forchette, sil vous plait. The conjugation can come later. I think, I’m trying to follow the natural progression of a baby learning how to talk. Words first, then the stringing into sentences a little later. I loved how I felt like a baby again except that I was having a few beers with my teacher. This was also a class where I found myself so different from how I would act in all the classes (across all types, fields, academic or otherwise)I had taken – I wasn’t a serious, conscious achiever this time, but a learner who would suggest – even demand— a nap. The weather was just perfect, and the crashing waves calmed the effervescence in our tummies and heads and lulled us to sleep.
It was time to go now. But the sea was irresistible. So the day got lazier, and dragged on oh so pleasurably while we sat on the seawall and just stared into the horizon. There was so much poetry in the scenery that Bia burst into a French song. The French song sounded so familiar and nostalgic but it did not transport me to a time I had in France or Belgium or the EDSA Shrine with the French priest. It brought me back to my childhood, until the magic wore off and it all became a prank on my sentimental self. It was nothing else but Under the Sea. Yes, Under the Sea, not any other song with the Provencal feel or the Charlotte Gainsbourg rasp. But oh well, I conceded until we were singing a whole Disney repertoire till the sun dimmed.
Oh Disney. I never realized until that afternoon that it could be a great unifier, too.