I never took french. I used my friend Google Translate to come up with this post’s title. Hopefully it says: Our first official Couch-Surfer was a young woman from Toulouse.
Camille arrived a day late, she was going to arrive late night on Sunday August 26. However, she wanted a little more time in Savannah. So she was then meant to come in on Monday evening – but the train was delayed due to the weather. Tropical Storm Isaac had hit the far southern states and caused troubles with the transportation systems. Therefore, we did not actually fetch Camille from the train station until about 1am on Tuesday, August 28 — All 3 of us fairly tired.
Our first impression of her was good, she was smiling, personable, talkative… Happy to finally be in Charleston. Mainly we chatted about her train ride, and she asked about what Jon & I do… typical chatter, I reckon. Then Jon asked “So, what things might you like to do while in town?” She said she was open to many things, but there were a few things she really hoped to do.
Camille’s Main To-Do list:
- Eat Pecan Pie
- Enjoy Authentic Southern Food
- Learn to dance “The Charleston”
- See Downtown – shops, buildings, etc.
Already – she came to the right people! Little did she know that she would soon have other grand To-Do’s to mark off her list.
So after returning to our place, we chatted a bit more. Somehow we got on the topic of hunting, and Camille asked if we had guns and did any hunting or shooting. Well, this made Jon very happy. He loves to show off our guns. He showed her our guns, and she was very interested.
Shortly, we headed in for bed. We made up our spare room, offered her access to our kitchen. She was nervously saying “No, No you are too kind. Really I am fine, thank you.”
I had just made Lemon PoppySeed muffins and we had left over Caramel Apple Coffee Cake we had made last week – so we offered her to snack on those. She then looked over at the baked goods under glass, looked back at Jon & I and said something that I doubt I will ever forget: “Are you two Angels from heaven??? Do you have Genitalia?”
Obviously shocked and confused, Jon and I immediately locked eyes and had eyebrows flying from our foreheads. She further explained, “What I mean is – You are already the nicest people I have met in America after a couple hours, and I thought I had met some great people already!”
She LOVED the coffee cake, and thank goodness too, because she ate the remainder during her visit! Less pounds of sweets on Jon & my bodies!!
Jon & I had talked about working up our own “To-Do” list for Camille. He formulated this:
1) Do the things she wants on her list (pecan pie, southern food, dance, see downtown)
2) Now we know she likes guns, see if there is a range to take her too.
3) Take her to a plantation to see a southern garden and alligators.
4) Take her to “our sort of scene”
Tomorrow would begin the fun and the To-Dos!
Tuesday we all woke up & Jon made us breakfast: Cheese Grits, Eggs, and Bacon. Having never had, nor heard of, a Grit – Camille was on her way to marking off her list. She told us breakfast really isn’t a meal in France. Sure, a pastry or something – but she said it is not the meal it seems to be in the US. She had discovered and fell in love with bacon, and Bloody Mary’s while on her on this USA trip.
I logged in to work to knock some stuff out while we were eating our breakfast. It began raining quite hard and fast. Within about an hour, we were ready to venture out and show Camille downtown, even if in the rain.
We had no idea what we were really in for as we left the house.
Having not watched the news in the morning, we failed to see that this was not just a rainy Tuesday but in fact a flash flood thanks to Tropical Storm Isaac. We walked about 2 Blocks down the street and we realized the impact. I, for one, had not yet experienced the rains/floodings of Downtown Charleston. Something to behold!
Up to our waists in water, we soldiered on and made our tour of Downtown into water fun play & sightseeing combo package!
Cars flooded, traffic backed up, roads impassable, college kids floating down the street in rafts and inner tubes, a mother worried about getting her child from daycare, a couple having their living room pumped….
Our usual 15 to 30 minute stroll to all points downtown was now a nearly 3 hour long trek. Once we reached King Street, we were all soaked, cold, and hungry. Popping into King Street Grill about 3pm for cocktails and a bite to eat. Jon ordered he and Camille some Bloody Marys, and I some Frangelico with a splash of Baileys. Jon and Camille talked about Rugby and she and I talked about some of the architecture in the building, while we all planned our evening out together.
More time to chit chat and laugh before venturing out again into the rain for home.
Camille is a 26 year old mother of a 5 year old boy, called Jules. He is about to start Kindergarten, and she is very nervous & excited about this – as most mother’s are. The father and she are not together, but she said they get along very well and love Jules very much. She only attended university for one year, but she studied History and Sociology there.
Her story is a rough one, part of the reason she did not finish school is because her mother died very young of cancer. A very aggressive cancer, indeed. Her mother gave in to the illness after what Camille described as a 10 year battle, leaving behind 3 children – Camille, her younger sister, and younger brother. Besides being a difficult time for her, her siblings were very young and her focus strayed from university and was then aimed at her child and family.
Camille is a waitress at a Japanese restaurant run by Chinese family. Apparently, many Chinese flee to France and Japanese do not. Yet there is still a need for sushi!
Camille rolls her own cigarettes and smokes like a chimney. She loves wine, but no reds. She had the right side of her head shaved, with longer auburn dyed hair in tight curls all around. A shorter, tiny framed girl with huge bright brown eyes and tattoos all about.
After our chat and food, we went back to our house, and we all showered and took small naps. We had to rest before our big evening! We had planned to take Camille to “our” style hangout. It is not a tourist-y or Charlestonian sort of place – but a Jon & Sarah sort of place!
There is more to our adventure with Camille…. To Be Continued!