When we chose Paris as our home base, there was some reasoning behind it. Its a city I know reasonably well after years of business travel here. I also studied French in school up until university so I have a basic understanding of how to speak the language. Plus Paris is fairly centrally located within Europe and well, its FUCKING PARIS!
Every time I come here, I realize what a load of bullshit my French language education actually was without ever immersing myself. Its VERY clear that the hours Mme Sharon spent hammering the Notre Père (Our Father) into my head were absolutely useless in trying to explain to the pharmacist that Monsieur has terrible acid reflux and what could she recommend to help. The conversation went like this:
Pharmacist: Bonjour Madame
Me: Bonjour Madame. Vous m’aidez? Mon Mari a une problème avec son éstomac. Avez-vous un medecin pour lui assistez? (“Hello Ma’am. Can you help me? My husband has a problem with his stomach. Do you have a doctor for you to help him?” I was trying to ask for medicine.)
Me: Ummm, Notre Pere? Qui est aux cieux? (“Ummm, Our Father? Who art in heaven?”)
Me: Que ton nom soit sanctifié? (“Hallowed be thy name”)
Me: Que ta volonté soit faite sur la terre comme au ciel? (“Here on earth as it is heaven”)
Its mostly ok, I think. The Parisians are being extremely generous in encouraging me in my french speaking. However, I know that they are just being kind. I’m sure that my tenses are all over the place and that I’m telling people we’ve lived here for 4 months instead of we ARE going to live here for 4 months.
Just the other night, in one of these tight quartered cafés, the kid dropped something under the table and cracked their head on the way back up. I felt quite proud of the fact that I managed to ask the waitress for a napkin full of ice. I was certainly successful in asking for ice cubes (glaçons) instead of ice cream (glacé) – common mistake I make. However, I’m pretty sure I told her that the kid had broken (casser) her head instead of hit (frapper) it, which probably explains why she brought les glaçons tout de suite.
Hopefully, in a few more weeks I’ll be a lot less wobbly and more able to communicate. In the meantime, merci beaucoup Mme Sharon, FOR NOTHING! At least I won’t look like a chump when we visit any churches.