“Bonjour! Deux baguettes, sil-vous-plait. Merci, Madame. Au revoir!”
I was so proud of myself after I ordered my own baguettes a few days ago. However, the joy was not to last. My most consistent phrases as of late have been, “Je ne parle pas Français.” (I do not speak French) and , “Je parle un peu le Français (I speak a little French). Not understanding the language of the country you live in brings out a certain form of humility that we usually quit experiencing around the age of three or four. There are two different options for handling the situation. Both of which I have tried this week.
Option 1: An older gentleman walks up to me on the sidewalk and starts talking to me about my children (les enfants). I have no idea if he is complimenting me or telling me not to let them play in the grass. I walk back to our apartment discouraged, in tears, and angry that I can’t enjoy a compliment or defend my children.
Option 2: Trying to get our guarantee for the vacuum we bought in Boulanger (an appliance store a lot like Best Buy) was a challenge, but we laughed our way through it! “Habite?” “ We know that word. Oh yeah, she wants our address!” Score one point for the Chadbourns! The conversation, which should have taken 3 minutes, took more like 10, but we got the job done. We now have a vacuum complete with a two year guarantee!
God taught us the English language. He can teach us the French language. One day at a time, one step at a time we will get this language learned!