Yesterday morning, I arrived five minutes early for my step class so I could get a good spot in the front. I chatted a little bit with the friendly Norwegian blond who I had formerly thought was a proud French woman until she turned around and said hello to me in cheery English the day before. I had heard her chatting beautifully in French earlier in the week with the other regulars.
It was 9:30 am now and time for the class to start. The teacher had not arrived yet, but three other gym-goers did. We all started chatting and discovered what an international bunch we were. These were women whom I would have assumed were French because they spoke fluently with no accents. But one woman was from Spain (living in France for twelve years) and the other two were from Kazakhstan. Fortunately, I don't have much of an accent either, so I was pretty much able to fit in.
I'm one of the few lucky Americans in Paris without an accent. Probably because I'm a musician (I suppose we're better at distinguishing subtleties in sound) and because I'm a classical singer -- a requirement being able to sing perfectly in German, Italian, French, and English without necessarily being a fluent speaker in those languages.
So anyways, where were the French ladies? Late, of course. It's just a way of life here.