The Non-English Channel

It is said (by important people) that one year olds can understand about 50 words & speak about 3, on average.  Smart aleck two year olds can understand 200-300 words but refuse to speak more than “no” (actually 50-75 words).  

Well, I (Connie) am about a 2-year old in German & French, and perhaps a 1-year old in Spanish & Portugese.  Donna, on the other hand, is functionally bilingual.  She is at the intermediate level in Spanish and she knows a smiggen of French.

Unfortunately, our brains don’t seem to maintain language-specific channels when we attempt to communicate in French.  This made for some weird conversations in Paris.

Bakery person: Bonjour. Que desirez-vous?

Connie: Eine bagette mit biere,  please.

Bakery person: (noticing we were two together) Deux baguettes?

Donna: Non, not deux (she points to herself, then to a croissant), uno.

Then there was a waiter.
  Waiter: Bonjour. Que vous desirez?

Donna: (in Spanish) I’d like a coffee and some water please.

Waiter: (in French). I’m not Spanish.

Donna:  (in English) I don’t speak French.

Waiter: (in English). I don’t either.

I really like France.  I love the vibrancy & diversity of Paris and the way people seem to live their lives on the streets.  I also love the beauty of the countryside and the strength of and apparent pride in the national motto of Liberty, Equality, & Fraternity (although I get a twinge of sadness for Marie Antoinette when I see it). Yes, we did visit Versailles!

But, on with our journey.  Yesterday we left Paris to begin our big adventure.  We immediately caught the wrong train.  Right track- right time – but wrong train.  It’s a special skill.  And because we were on the wrong train, we couldn’t access WiFi in order to see where the heck we were going. Silly of us to worry about getting lost on the Camino.  Lesson learned?  Ask questions.  We don’t like to bother people & to have to deal with the insanity of the non-English channel but we would also like to get where we are going.  Oh, and there are doors!  But, you may not see them for a while because internet is spotty and persnickety.

3 thoughts on “The Non-English Channel”

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