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This picture is connected to my favorite moment of my trip. We were in the Luxemborg Gardens. My friends had gone off to sketch the sunbathers (there seem to be a lot of French people who use their lunch hours to catch some rays). I sat in the shade with my back to a tree and started to draw this lion statue.

When we had entered the park there were thousands of kids everywhere, in T-shirts advertising some company sponsor. Fifteen of these 10-year-old boys spotted me, surrounded me and started peppering me with questions. Of course it took only seconds for them to realize I didn't speak French with enough facility to clearly answer their questions, but I drew a map and two of them drew maps, and with pantomime and excited and insistent patience we managed to communicate quite a lot.

There were 5,000 kids there from all over France. They had competed all year for the opportunity to attend this summer event. When their teacher arrived, her English was less than that of her students and she wasn't able to understand my French as well as the young boys could. But they were amazed that someone could make a living making pictures and designing books. We'd had our own little job fair day. And I had had another experience with the friendly French!


Illustration © 2006 Roz Stendahl; All Rights Reserved