Friday, March 14, 2008

Je Rigole (Just kidding!)

I was in high school when a coup d'etat was staged against Gorbachev (I think--history, no matter how recent, has never been my strong suit). My friend was taking a nap on the couch and in a daze woke up to a Russian newscaster reporting on the coup. He understood every word the woman was saying, despite the fact that he, himself, did not speak a lick of Russian.

"Oh my god, I can understand Russian," he said aloud. Luckily he was alone, as not ten seconds later he realized the person he understood was the translator ... who was speaking in English. I laughed my ass off when he told me that story.

I now know how he felt. I needed to call our hotel in Nice today and give my credit card number to confirm our reservation in September. For the last two days I've been practicing what I was going to say. I had somehow convinced myself that the French classes I took 15 years ago in high school, combined with the fact that I've been planning a trip to France for years and LOVE the language had somehow made me fluent. You can imagine how well that went.

I managed to get through "Bonjour Monsieur, parlez vous anglais?" Luckily he parlez-ed very well and I hung up the phone a shaking wreck of embarrassment. But! Undeterred I am setting out tomorrow to grab some French language books to add to my ever growing stack of guidebooks.

If you happen onto this post and parlez vous francais, or are trying like me, I'd love it if you could post your thoughts or suggestions. In English for now, lest I'm unable to find that pesky translator when I need her.

Happy Friday!