The Backstory {chapitre trois}

[2010]

(This is the third installment in my very own, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ episode, except it’s father, not mother,and actually only husband, not father yet, unless I’m telling this story to Fifty, in which case I guess this is, ‘How I Met Your Father’. You can find part one here, followed by part two here)

There I was, coat and purse slung over my arm, frazzled, irritated, and trying to make my way out of the crowded nightclub. And there he was, tall, blonde, tanned, broad shouldered, definitely not Irish, and walking straight for me.

We stopped about foot away and stared at each other for a few seconds. Then, in heavily accented English, he spoke. “I am Gregory” he said except it sounded like, “I am Gwegowy.” I smiled and nodded and asked him where he was from. “I am Fwench.” OK. I asked him if he wanted to go to the bar and get a drink, but due to the loud music and Gregory only knowing how to say about two things in English (I am Gregory. I am French), there was a great deal of miming and pointing involved. Eventually he copped on.

sidebar: I’m inserting this sidebar now after writing the rest of the post because I think that it is important to note a couple of things… First, from the moment I met Gregory, I knew he was ‘it’. It’s not like there were shooting stars and stuff, it was a feeling, like a feeling of calm, and just knowing. It was as if I had been waiting to exhale for a very long time and finally could. And second, I always thought that that moment when we walked towards each other was the first time Gregory had seen me (it was the first time I had seen him) but I found out after moving to France, that he had spotted me a few times earlier that night. So I’m pretty sure (although he refuses to admit it) that he saw me leaving, and finally took his chance. Stalker.  

It didn’t take us long to figure out that trying to have a conversation was basically impossible, so I left my coat and purse with my coworkers (lots of smiling and winking from their end), and we moved to the dance floor. This is when I found out that Gregory is a horrible dancer. I tried to find away to talk instead (anything to make the dancing stop). It turned out that some of his French friends were on the dance floor also, and could speak English, so Gregory recruited Alex as our translator.

I found out that Gregory had only arrived three days before and had come to Ireland to learn English. I was pretty sure that I could help him with that so I put my number in his phone and asked Alex to tell him that I was going to head home, but if he ever wanted to go for a bite to eat or a drink or something he should text me (a phone call would have been damn near impossible at this point… in fact, we were dating about six weeks before we had our first actual phone conversation). Alex told Gregory what I said, he looked at me, said OK and followed me out of the club. I didn’t mean go out for a bite to eat right at that moment, but it didn’t really matter (the first of many, many lost in translation moments).

So that’s how we found ourselves on our first date, eating burgers and fries at a little place around the corner at 1AM, about an hour after we met. And then two days shy of ten months later, I was on a plane bound for France and my new life in Le Petit Village.

And that’s the story of how this American girl,
met her French husband in a nightclub in Dublin.

Questions, comments, concerns?
bisou

53 responses to “The Backstory {chapitre trois}”

  1. Great denouement… even though I knew the end already!

    Like

  2. Love it. And knowing both of you, I read this with a huge smile on my face. Love wins!!

    Like

  3. Naw… so cute. Almost makes me think about going back to nightclubs… Almost.

    Like

  4. I LOVE IT! Love does triumph over all, what a great story! There must be something about French men & American women as I felt the same way when I first met my husband….25 years ago! (Although it took us 6 years to finally get married!)

    Like

  5. What a lovely story, keep em coming girl – Roz

    Like

  6. It's lovely that feeling of just knowing someone is right. What an amazing evening it turned out to be in the end. 🙂

    Like

  7. haha,you have an interesting story! i'd stay with your proposition of Gregory stalking you 😉 Gregory should build his case if he wants to bail.(and it feels a bit weird to me that he's Gregory, because, by 2010 after i've read your blog for awhile, he's Nicholas in my mind-ha!)

    Like

  8. tell us more, tell us more! awesome story!!

    Like

  9. Whew, I can finally breathe again:-). It's a lovely story, of course, but I do have a question. As an American married to a Brit, and having lived together in Ireland and now France, I understand how difficult the cultural differences can be, never mind language differences. How in the world did you manage to really start speaking with each other? It's amazing what love can do. 🙂

    Like

  10. Perfect. You need to sell the movie rights.

    Like

  11. Very cute “meet-up.” I am curious if you talked during your first date that night and how long it was before you could carry on a conversation?

    Like

  12. That's so cute! I hope to hear more about the time you were dating, how you decided to move to France and all that! And did you communicate in English only or did you learn french? And what about now? 🙂

    Like

  13. Nice!!!Funny he was in Ireland to learn english and when he returned… only “I'm Gregory, I'm french”!Dancer??? My husband is like a pole, maybe worse!!!It's really a lovely story.Bisous, Babi

    Like

  14. That's fine by me because I happen to love the name Nicolas!

    Like

  15. So happy to sit here on a cold rainy day sipping cappuccino and catching up with this! Love the story – and have to say – what IS it about rain? I met my dream man on a rainy evening when I didn't want to leave my cozy home either! Hugs from the Colorado Front Range, Dear – and Happy Anniversary to you both!

    Like

  16. I love this, Sara! I did not know that he did not speak English when you met. That is even more awesome. 🙂 And I totally know what you mean when you describe the feeling of meeting him for the first time. That is exactly how I felt when I met David for the first time.

    Like

  17. I just laughed out loud, because my dad said that my mom had a similar accent/style of speaking when they met as well. (except I'm pretty sure she said, “Je name Belle” or something else awfully translated). I love you two. You are adorable and this story makes me want to get swept off my feet by a cute French man! 🙂

    Like

  18. The only answer I have to that is time. It took time to be able to 'really' speak to each other conversationally. But isn't amazing how many non-verbal cues we give off with our expressions and gestures? My body language is pretty much honed into a fine art at this point 🙂

    Like

  19. Please tell me you're going to keep this series up. Please?

    Like

  20. Great/sweet story, it really was meant to be… definite stalker I think! (LOL)Ivan

    Like

  21. I want a guest post from his POV!

    Like

  22. Love the story…and i love that its like 'how i met your mother' lol. cute.

    Like

  23. Oh I love this. I may have teared up a bit because I love a good “how we met” story. Also, meeting people in bars is totally legit. 🙂

    Like

  24. Hee hee, I love that he could say precisely 2 sentences at the start :oD The question is, did his English get better, or your French, or both? and does he speak English with an Irish or an American accent? Seriously, I have an Italian friend that speaks English with the most peculiar Mancunian/Glaswegian mashed up accent as those are the two places he went to uni, I want to know if there are others out there just as odd ;o)

    Like

  25. I'd love to, but then they'd realize that only about ten minutes of the movie would be interesting 🙂

    Like

  26. On that first night, I talked, and he just sat there smiling at me. On our next date two days later it was the same, but then by our fourth date the following Friday (four dates in one week!), he brought his French-English dictionary with him and we spoke in tiny bits of French, English, Spanish and pointed and mimed a lot! By the second week, we were able to really start talking in our form of Franglais.

    Like

  27. We only communicated in English because he was in Ireland and I didn't speak any French. And while I'm about 75% fluent in French now, we still speak English at home. I think it's because it's what's natural for us as it's the language that we started dating in. I asked Gregory once if we should start speaking French at home so I would have more practice but then he said, that our house is the only place he can practice his English, whereas as soon as I step out the front door, I'm speaking French. So it's English in our house.

    Like

  28. Well he had only been in Ireland for three days when we met so the English lessons hadn't started yet!

    Like

  29. His English definitely got better, my French has taken a bit longer but it's way better as well. I know what you mean about the accents because I worked with a French girl in Ireland who had a 100% Irish accent, you never would have known she was French, and we have a French friend who speaks English with a London accent, but Gregory speaks English with a French accent. There's not a hit of Irish or American in there!

    Like

  30. My story is so similar it is scary, except I was an au pair in France when we met, but it was an immediate bond. We've been married now for 16 years. I learned French much faster because I needed to work. We did a few dates with dictionarys. So much fun and surreal.

    Like

  31. BTW, I'm from Michigan and we live in the Burgundy region if you guys ever want to come up and do some wine tasting.

    Like

  32. this is ADORABLE!!!!! I pretend sometimes to not like love stories, but the truth is I love them 🙂 And THIS is a good one. Oh by the way, I ended up going to Elephant and Castle in Dublin. The chicken wings were good! 🙂 Thanks for your recommendations!!

    Like

  33. eeeee chills, for reals! I had no idea he didn't really speak English when y'all met – I bet y'all had so many laughs because of it. We have enough here and the English is purdy dang good most of the time

    Like

  34. Such a great how-we-met story! I want to hear about the dating part now, too.

    Like

  35. I love how you describe that you just knew. It was the same for Matt and me… no fireworks and flashing lights, but a comfortable knowing, like a little click and everything now makes sense. Beautiful love story!!xoxoSelena

    Like

  36. That's funny about the language you use with your partner. When I met my french boyfriend (in Finland) we spoke English as i spoke no French. Then we moved to France and one year later we managed our first French discussions. One more year later we changed to French completely. Years after that some wondered how come we spoke in English in the beginning, including myself 🙂

    Like

  37. This is so damn cute I can't stand it. Absolutely adorable. And I think it's safe to say that if he wanted to learn English, there isn't a better way to do it. 🙂

    Like

  38. LOVE IT! I am waiting patiently for something like this to happen to me :)Happy Anniversary!

    Like

  39. This is SO CUTE! Oh my goodness! And I love your description of all the languages and their accents in the comments…Hilarious!

    Like

  40. Ok, my question is why were you (& your brother)in Ireland)? Was it for work or study etc? I love that you knew that Gregory was the one & that it just felt right from the off. He must have felt the same given that you had 4 dates in the first week. I hope we are due some more instalments in this love story. BTW Have you read “The Englishman” by Helena Halme? It's the story of how she meets & falls in love with a British naval officer when he is on a visit to her native Finland. I think you might enjoy it.

    Like

  41. Dammit girlie, made my eyes fill up with this weird, watery stuffs.

    Like

  42. hey – that kind of stalking is totally acceptable when it's gwegowy from fwance!!! i agree with liene – you do need to sell the movie rights. and don't kid yourself, a lot more than 10 minutes will be interesting – the whole enchilada will be captivating……remember the texas girl moving to france part??

    Like

  43. How sweet! I feel like kismet was definitely involved for us too . . . We met at a student party, he almost didn't go, I almost left with friends around midnight . . . But he came and I stayed, and around 2 on a very crowded dance floor, he just happened to pass by and say hi to his classmate (my roommate's girlfriend) and then turned to me and that was it! If just one thing had been different, or he'd gone around instead of through the crowd . . . Crazy when you think about it! 🙂

    Like

  44. Holy kismet for reals. Okay so questions-How did you communicate over the burger and fries? You weren't well versed in French then, correct? How is Bradley's English these days? I know you joke about it occasionally, but really, how is it?What did his family think, him bringing home an American-via-Ireland girl?Now I want to hear about the engagement.How did the decision come about to leave Ireland for the LPV?So many questions, I'm just so inquisitive!

    Like

  45. This post probably sums up what I was doing in Ireland the best: http://www.sarainlepetitvillage.com/2010/12/itchy-feet.htmlI haven't read The Englishman but it's sounds like something I'd love, I'm going to add it to my goodreads, thank you for recommending it 🙂

    Like

  46. I love reading love stories like these – you two are so cute! Happy anniversary again!

    Like

  47. Loved it! So sweet. I wouldn't mind some 'next episodes' between that burger and moving to LPV, just sayin. Apart from that, no other comments 🙂

    Like

  48. Good old Dicey's/Krystle eh?! I'd have been the same as you in Krystle, hate the place! But, I love this story! xx

    Like

  49. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story, as well as including my blog in your sidebar! I'm feeling inspired to share my own (strangely familiar) story sometime soon!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s