14 August, 2008

very sorry I am. (oui oui!)

I am spoiled. And I'm not just talking about luck and love in the usual sense, but in the ease that comes when one can finally articulate one's thoughts well in a foreign language.

German has become very comfortable for me lately. If I'm not yet ready to stop with my lessons it's only because I'm fascinated by linguistic acrobatics and niggling grammatical nuances.

With French, however, it's a completely different story. Despite my best efforts it's never really "stuck". In Flanders there was little opportunity for practice and I was never able to get up enough momentum to speak more than the most basic French.

So suddenly here I am in a French-speaking environment and am struggling with even very rudimentary phrases. Probably I should just give up and teach myself how to say: "Ignore that gibberish I just spit out! Despite all evidence to the contrary, I'm not actually stupid!"

The other day we were in a restaurant and I decided to swallow my pride and place my order myself. (How else am I ever going to learn if I don't practice?) So I ordered a salad, and then explained that I'd like a pasta dish with vegetables. No meat and no dairy, please.

I was so relieved to have it all over with and proud of myself for my excellent language skills!

Much later the water returned bearing trays laden with food. He doled it all out and I was left sitting there with my drool-soaked placemat and a stunned look on my face.

He didn't bring anything for me!

The only thing I ended up eating that evening was a big slice of humble pie!

Back to le old drawing board...


Goofball said...

huh, how did that happen? even if he did not understand you, you were talking to him so he must have known you wanted to order something????

anno said...

Sounds like a very "French" moment. Feel like reading A Year in the Merde?

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Yes, Betsy, you DO feel like reading A Year in the Merde - Anno's SO right on this one! ;-)

That's pretty bizarre, though. Maybe he was just being rude.

Bob said...

I feel like that whenever I'm in Italy. My mother was Italian, so I feel like I should have learned it by osmosis, or something. At least in Italy you never go hungry, though! ;-)