Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mass in French!

My first month here I discovered the English-language Mass, which is every Sunday at 6 pm at the Catholic Church on Tashenov Street. (There's only one Catholic church in town.) Sometimes we go to the Russian-language Mass at 11 am, which is about twice as long as the English-language one.

A few days ago I learned that there's a French-language Mass at the same church! It occurs only once a month, and is at 7:15 pm, so not long after the English one ends. How had I not noticed before? Once every month, there have been French-speakers entering the church as I'm leaving.

My mom is visiting Astana for our spring break; she arrived Saturday at midnight. Sunday we took her to Mega and Duman to see the aquarium. Then we took her to Eagilik, the English-language library with an American-style coffee shop, and from there to French Mass. She doesn't speak French, but luckily she's a good sport and understood how much I wanted to go. I used to speak French almost fluently, but have lost most of it due to want of practice, so I like to get in some French when I can. When I lived in Paris for a year, I attended Mass every Sunday and many weekdays, and so French Mass is something I can understand fairly well.

The church was practically empty for the Mass--about 4 famillies; I was told that there's usually more people, but because of the holiday, many were gone. I'd seen the priest before, but he doesn't speak English, and I had never learned that he is from Switzerland. He spoke with a clear accent, and I could understand much of what he said.

After Mass, there was a little reception--some people had brought food--and I met the other people attending, including the ambassador of France!

Luckily, everyone spoke English, and so Mom and I got to socialize and enjoy some French food and wine. Mom had brought her ipod touch, and Sophia played that with some of the other children. I learned that Miras school opened a French program this year, which explains why we have no French-speakers at our school this year! Last year, French seemed to be the 3rd language at our school--in the corridors and on the playground, you most frequently heard English, then Russian, then French. This year there are no French-speakers!

It was a nice evening, and hopefully I'll be able to attend French-mass again. (And bore poor Sophia, of course!)

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