Monday, September 08, 2008

A well-refined French experience...again.

Since I am running around crazy trying to get ready for my trip to France I don't have time to blog. Actually that's not true. I'm sure I could come up with some sort of fluff to post about, but when I sit down my mind is thinking about the fact that I am leaving my kids for a week and do they have enough clean underwear and where in the heck are their passports if they were to need to get out of the country quick like? So since all that mumbo jumbo would make up a jumbled post of nonsense I thought I would repost a story from my last trip to France. It still makes me laugh. Originally posted on Oct. 9, 2007.

The night Mentanna and I had the light French meal I offered to go buy the baguette we would be eating. I asked for specific directions to the bakery knowing how easily I get lost if I'm not paying attention. My direction sensors must have been on already because she told me it was a 10 minute walk close to where we had walked two days before, and I knew exactly how to get there. So after a little scribble of a map was made I set out. I didn't take the map with me knowing I knew exactly where to go. I know, I know...most of you are thinking I got extremely lost...I've set it up that way. The reality is I found the shop with no problems whatsoever. What happens next is what flustered me. I walked into the shop, confident in my bonjour, and saw the baguettes in a basket behind the counter. I realized that I had no idea how to say one baguette in French. I guess I expected to be able to pick it up myself. The nice lady at the store said something to me. I have no idea what. I held up one finger...my pointer finger then quickly switched to my thumb because I had a dim memory from my last trip to France (2 years and 9 months ago) of Mentanna telling me that in France the thumb was one. I said "baguette" and gave the lady the thumbs up sign...which I now know wasn't exactly accurate...it's more a thumb to the side gesture. I'm sure she was thinking "yabanci" which is Turkish for "you're not from around these parts are you?" or whatever the equivalent is in French. She gave me my baguette and told me how much it cost. Again I had no idea what she said, but Mentanna told me before I left that it would be less than a Euro. I took a Euro out of my pocket, put it on the counter and watched the lady try to figure out how much change she needed to give me. I saw her staring at the coin with a confused look on her face. I looked at the coin and noticed Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, staring back at me. Ooops...that would be a lira...not a Euro. I didn't even realize I had lira in my pocket. I pulled out another coin. Again, Ataturk graced it's face. Oh no...did I have any Euro? Thankfully I found a 2 Euro coin and paid with that. By that point I didn't know how to say thank you or goodbye in French. My 5 French words had escaped me. The nice lady said something else to me so I just smiled, turned Asian on her and backed out the door bowing several times, because I had no idea what else to do. I walked back to Mentanna's house giggling the whole way. I'm sure that several people I passed and the lady waiting at the crosswalk with me wondered what was funny and if I was in my right mind. Fun times! Good memories!


Anonymous said...

FIRST!!!! ;)

Brittany said...

That is going to be my new foreign travel motto...if all else fails, bow:)

Sra said...

That's a great story. I've had my fair share of similar blunders in Germany, and I technically speak the language!

Anonymous said...

Travel is all an adventure. Have a great one!

Anonymous said...

That was an international adventure! French, Sign language, Turkish, Asian and finally, Crazy (which is pretty universal)!


The Over-Thinker said...

Oh Lord, the bowing!! The bowing!! I think I need a demo.

Who else needs a demo?

Thriftgirl said...

Last week I bowed to the pizza delivery guy. Then the next day I bowed to the maintenance man, who revealed that he thought I was a world traveler because I bow, say "no worries" more than I should, and drink real German beer. Didn't have the heart to tell him I've been Stateside for...oh...about twenty-five years. Oh, well.

Natalie said...

greta - now that cracked me up!

brittany - well it seemed to work. and it was instinct. that was the funniest part!

sra - i can say without any shame that i don't know any french. and the bowing totally worked! i would have to bow in germany too!

citizen - thanks! i did!

mamadallama - well i am pretty good at crazy for sure!

over-thinker - oh i have totally demonstrated this story a million times. we went back to that little bakery this time, but i didn't have to impress anyone with my lack of french since my friend was with me. they missed out for sure!

thriftgirl - totally funny! it's amazing how well the bowing works. i totally looked like a world traveler! real german beer...now you've got me there!