Monday, May 22, 2006

Once again, my public makes their wishes known. You are an inquisitive lot!
Here it is- the FAQ for yesterday’s entry.

Q: What songs did you sing? Hymns? Folksongs?
A: Well, yes, sort of. They were almost all in French and were modern Catholic worship songs. When I say “modern”, I don’t mean like US Evangelist music (The Newsboys, Rebecca St James and their rocking-out brethren ). The best description is: I sounded like the Singing Nun. You remember that “Dominique-nique-nique” song and the nun strumming her guitar? It sounded like that. Not terribly “cool”, I have to admit. Luckily, I am unconcerned by “cool”, as my eldest daughter so often informs me. (BTW-I just asked a 40-something American friend if she remembered the Singing Nun. She said "Yes! I LOVED her! Sally Field, right?" No dear, that was the FLYING nun. It's different.)
The final song was partly in some Zairian language. Translated into French, it meant in part: “We are all the children of the same Father. We will one day see the glory of God.” That's what I was told, anyway. It COULD have been about dead puppies and satanic rituals, set to a perky arrangement.

Q. What kind of back-up did you have?
A. There was an electric piano, a guitarist (acoustic, to get the full Singing Nun-effect going) and a djembé player. The University chorale sang on some of the songs.
One number was a duet with Sylvain, the guitarist.

Q. What did you wear?
A. I wore bright turquoise capri pants with a long gauze tunic over them. The tunic was also turquoise and embroidered with gold threads and sequins. No doubt it sounds a bit flashy for a church where you are, but here I fit it pretty well.
What people wear to church here is rather interesting. You can divide nearly everyone up into three basic groups:
1. The Europeans: Very dull bunch. They will wear old, everyday clothes. Not jeans, of course, but dull colored, loose linen dresses are common. The men dress nicely- no t-shirts, but no suits, either, even on big occasions. Boring.
2. The Africans: The dress as nicely as they can afford. The men are in suits, or bright-colored shirts. The women dress to the nines in impeccably tailored outfits in eye-popping patterns. There is always a matching headscarf or shawl. Very uncomfortable-looking shoes are required for both men and women.
3. The Lebanese: The women are always dressed for the evening- even to pick up the kids at school. So, no surprise that they really go over the top for big events. The clothes are very tight and very sparkly. Gold accessories and plenty of them is typical. The men are more middle of the road. Not as showy as the African men, but less sloppy than the Europeans.
Then there’s me- as ever, the odd one out. I am French by marriage, of course, but the clothes are just too boring. So I have a sort of hybrid Euro-Africo-Lebano-American style that I have developed. It consists of:
Bright colors
Glitter, beading, etc. are acceptable
No skirts that bare the knee (inappropriate by local standards),
No pants unless covered by a tunic,
Comfortable shoes (that’s the American part)

Q. Were you any good?
A. I guess I didn’t humiliate myself. At the end of the service there was a “special thank-you” to Beth Jacob, our soloist. A couple of friends came over afterwards to say nice things, but my biggest fan was Mallory. She thought I was fabulous.
I know I could have done better, but that’s how it always goes….. The President did not come by to congratulate me, but I can live with that.

Q. Has the service been on the news yet?
A. No word on that front. We don’t have out TV hooked up, so I never see the news. If no news really is good news, I get plenty of it. No wonder I'm such a happy person!

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