I am usually able to find at least a Category 2 parking spot. It is strange because only a few streets over is a Category 3 area- almost all the cars are double parked. The owners usually leave a piece of paper on their dashboard with their phone number. Supposedly, if you are blocked in, you are supposed to call them and ask them to come move your car. Which is usually faster than calling a tow truck.
At least the english-speaker's accent in French is considered by the French to be rather charming/upper class, but sometimes I just want to blend in. I suppose I can get away with mono-syllabels - "oui" "non" - but anything more involved than that and Bam! they know I ain't french.
The worst is the Rs. I just cannot pronounce them correctly for the life of me. I have sometimes had to resort to spelling the word I want to convey the meaning of.
Once, I was speaking on the phone at work and was saying four. (think I was ordering four of something)
Un, doo, twa, catruh!
He finally understood. My officemates just laughed.
When I was taking my french courses, I tried to record myself reading texts in French, then listen to myself. That lasted all of once. I just could not bear it. Ah! Turn it off! Turn it off!
Other Things I Have Learned:
1) Thou, as a foreigner, shalt not use slang terms. Ya just sound silly.
Imagine someone with a heavy German accent saying
"Yo man, I'ma gonna go rollin in my bangin' ride to hit on some chicks."
Doesn't work right? Makes you just want to laugh right?
well, same for Americans speaking in French- mec, truc, bagnole, flic, etc.
Stick to the normal words.
2) Thou, as a foreigner, shalt not swear.
You can be upset, but Putain merde! just doesn't quite have the same effect.
You can maybe get away with a "mince" or "bon sang" but that's about it.
3) Thou, as a foreigner, shalt not get overly angry and yell in foreign language.
Getting red in face, searching for your words, combined with accent and slang terms?
Doesn't work. You can have disagreements, but that is it. Otherwise, nobody will take your little temper tantrum seriously.
"Aww, look at the funny American. They are so cute when they get angry and try to yell in French."
Should we ever move back to the US, I will have to start doing this in the winters.
Sorry for the blurry picture.
Picture below on the Canebiere in Marseille. It is a small stand shaped like a train. There are numerous stands in Aix, but I haven't yet stopped for roasted chestnuts because the weather has been rainy and terrible.Alain loves chestnut cream.
I haven't actually started Christmas shopping yet, these pictures are from last year.
A momentous occasion that just happened that has worldwide ramifications.
No, not the election.
I am talking about:
Happy Birthday to Me!
Yes, today is my 29th birthday. Goodness, I am getting up there.
Today is the saint day Sainte Bertille. Yuck. Thank goodness I wasn't named for the saint upon whose day I was born. Actually, I don't really have a Saint Day. I guess the closest would have to be Sainte Marguerite, November 16th. Close enough.
And tomorrow is Alain's and my 5 year dating anniversary.
We were office mates in graduate school (he was doing his postdoc) at the University of Virginia. When I arrived in the office, he was up in New York- he went every other month to IBM to do some experiments. Another student (playing matchmaker I know, she confessed) put me in his office.
I thought "I hope he is either really cute, or if he isn't really cute, that he isn't around much." Well, unfortunately he was both: cute and not around very much.
Anyway, I told him that my birthday was Nov. 6th and he invited me out for drinks the day after to celebrate. Wasn't sure if it was a date or not, but I tried my hardest and even if it wasn't a date to start with, it ended up one!
Five years later, here we are: five years older for one thing.
But also married, living in France, and owning an apartment (even if I want to firebomb it from time to time).
Also quite sick of questions of when little tadpoles are going to arrive, so don't even start.
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