Language update: I suck. If I knew any French swear words I’d say them, multiple times. Every time I think I’m making progress I get smacked in the forehead, hard and fast.

Pharmacy woman is killing me. It’s enough torture to see her even once after the whole vaginale debacle but now every single time I go in she happens to serve me. I ask for basic stuff in perfect French and, as usual, she rapid fires 10 questions just above a whisper. Then she gets all impatient with me. I suspect she’s actually from Manchester deliberately trying to drive me to the brink.

But the worst was a dinner party last weekend. There were eight of us in total, right fancy-like, 14 gorgeous names to remember, everyone talking at once in a large space with a distinct echo. Everyone was so gracious and très chic so I was a bit nervous enhanced by the fact that the mayor was actually serving the foe gras with red wine and onion confiture appetizer.

I sat there and smiled a lot and made several valiant attempts to interact like I normally would. Nothing. Crickets. Then finally I heard the mayor talking about a word I recognized. Phoque. He was talking about the seal hunt. Now here was something. This is a topic that Newfies know a lot about (we will NOT debating this here, we know about it, others don’t, end of story).

Whether I was impassioned by my heritage or simply a topic that I actually knew something about doesn’t really matter at this point. All I can say is that I got a bit riled up (not by French standards) ending with my referring to Bridget Bardot as a total idiot. Mmm, the queen of verbal restraint me.

It was a beautiful party but by the end I was all in and totally discouraged about the language. I felt totally defeated. All I could think was ‘what the hell am I doing here? I will never learn this mess well enough to secure a second invite anywhere’.

Intellectually I know all the right things to say to myself. These things take time. Assimilating to a new culture is one of the most difficult things to do. Blah, blah, blabbity blah. But I can’t stand being excluded from the witty banter. The worst is when everyone bursts into raucous laughter and I just sit there wondering what’s so funny. It’s like showing up for the shindig only to have some snooty hostess say you’re not on the list.

So nothing to do but keep at it. CDs, books, lessons, practice, perhaps a little divine intervention. Is it too much to ask the gods to rub a few spices on my foot and serve it to me on a silver platter?

Share