Sorry for the week of silence. I was away last weekend, and the week has been busy. Before I left last weekend, I had felt like I was making headway and was finally understanding. When I got back on Monday and sat down in class, I had to make sure I was really in the right place . . . it didn't sound anything like the French I understood . . . for all I know, Monday's class could have been taught in Russian because I didn't understand a word!! But I am happy to report that over the week my ears have tuned back in to French, and I'm back to plugging ahead.
When I left last weekend I had to go through passport control in the train station. The man spoke very quickly, so I appologized and told him that I only speak a little bit of French. Looking down at my American passport, he saw my last name and began speaking to me in Italian!! I errupted into laughter and said, "My Italian is even worse than my French!"
This afternoon I went to the African Market that happens twice a week here in Massy. I found some greenish-yellow pods amongst the vegetables. Unsure of what they were, I turned to the North African vendor and asked Qu'est-ce que c'est? (What is it?) He responded. I didn't understand a word he said. Je ne comprende pas. (I don't understand.) He asked if we spoke English. Yes. He began speaking. We stared at him. He said something else. We stared at him, Comment? (What?) Parlez Anglais? (Do you speak English?) Oui, we said. He began to speak again . . . I looked at my friend, "He's speaking to us in German." We finally said thank you and walked away. As we left, he said to us in French, "But I thought you speak English!" Really, the options were either French or German and he didn't seem interested in attempting French with us! (And I found a pod on the ground, so I opened it . . . I think it was edemame.)
But then, as we were walking home, we stopped in a shop to pick up some cheese. The shop is just down the street from Les Cedres, so they are used to seeing us in there. My friend and I were trying to find toothpicks but couldn't . . . and since neither of us know the French word for "toothpick" we had to improvise. Où c'est trouvre le petit battons bois? (Where are the little sticks of wood found) The employee stared at us (I get that a lot!). So I added (with a bit of charades) Pour les dents (For the teeth.) AH!! Les cure-dents! Non. Nous n'avons pas (OH!! Toothpicks! Nope, we don't have any). Anyway, my friend and I were chatting away, attempting to use as much French as we could, and the security guard approached us and in perfect English said "You speak French very well! It gets better ever time you come in." VICTORY!!!
Wednesday was a classmates brithday, so a few of us took her into Paris. We went to a fabric (tissu) market in Montemare. The neighborhood is lovely! Here are some photos. Enjoy.