If you have been following along with my language struggles, you will know I profess to know and understand only two words in French. And, to a point, that’s true. But I do also know several very helpful phrases, which I use on a daily basis to get by with, while out and about in the city.
But these phrases fail me when anyone launches into a full-on conversation beyond the very basics, and I mean, the very basics.
And so it was, I found myself at the Dentist’s reception this morning booking an appointment to see the hygienist in a couple of months time.
You would think it simple enough to memorize a couple of sentences in order to fumble my way through asking to make an appointment, and, understanding the responses while providing my own. But I suffer from what I call, “Brick wall syndrome.” In that when anyone says a word I’m not familiar with or speaks too fast for my inept brain to translate quickly enough, I hit said brick wall with force. I then stall and become an idiot mumbling gibberish. Much, I might add, to the amusement of those on the other side.
Thankfully, the receptionist at my dentist is all to familiar with dilemma and is kind enough to try out her rusty English. So that, in the end, we get by.
It happens all too often and, you would think, that after all the time I have lived here, I would have improved. But no, I really do have absolutely no knack with languages, and especially, it would seem, French.
I’m no Joan of Arc so at least no one here, in Québec, is going to burn me at the stake for my heresy and abysmal language skills. I’m seen as someone to be pitied and given the benefit of the doubt. After all, I do try to speak the language, however badly. And, around here, they do appreciate that.
And for that, I am truly thankful!