Reflections on life. Collections of inspirational quotes. Rediscovering relationships and faith.
Life is a foreign language: all men mispronounce it. – Christopher Morley
“It was raining when I arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris yesterday. The custom official asked me “Vous avez- quelque chose declarer ? Tous vins, spiritueux, cigares, parfums…” . I nervously presumed he was asking me: “Have you anything to declare? Any wines, spirits, cigars, perfumes…” I couragely blurted out the only french line I know: “Excusez-moi, Je ne parle pas francais! ” (Excuse me, I don’t speak french).
Oh my God…I recall my first week in Italy. I felt like a trapped rat not knowing where to run to get my food. It was difficult to communicate so I decided to enroll in an Italian class.
First day of class…
I have never felt so intimidated in a class as I just did in my Italian class. From the moment my severe looking professor showed up, I knew I was in trouble. She was spewing Italian like a champ greeting everyone out in the hallway and I whispered to one of my classmates, “Are we supposed to understand this?”
I was fine to introduce myself. I tried learning the basic conversations in italian beforehand.
“Mi chiamo Ros (My name is Ros).”
I remember that much at least, but when Professor Martini went around the classroom asking “Come va la vita?” (How’s life treating you?) well I was stumped… mostly I was just terrified at the fact that not only am I taking a class at 8,30 a.m. which is terribly early for me who rarely crawls into bed before 2 a.m., but also that this is a FOREIGN LANGUAGE class.
Oh oh, I begun perspiring. I frantically tried to retrieve from my memory bank my Spanish in college as it has some similarities with Italian but all I could think about was Adios Patria Adorada, Noli Me Tangere (works of our national hero, Jose Rizal) and how I used to sit in class reading a love letter inside my spanish book. Luckily I received a high grade for Spanish but that was approximately one million years ago!
I managed to make it through class with my sweating palms, nervously writing down all the words I didn’t understand and promising myself to study those first five chapters my Professor asked me to do.
It’s good for me to feel dumb sometimes, keeps me in my place.
Today, I learned 10 phrases in French …here are some examples with matching pronunciation:
A. During candid conversation
“Voulez-vous cesser de me cracher dessus pendant que vous parlez!”
(voo – lay voo se – say de me cra – shay de – su pen – dan que voo parl – ay)
“Le réalité et toi, vous ne vous entendez pas, n’est-ce pas?”
(le ree – al – ee – tay eh twa voo ne voo zen – ten – day pah nes pah)
B. On helping others
“Parle à mon cul, ma tête est malade” (parl a mon cul, ma teht eh ma – lahd)
“Faites-le vous-même” (fay – teh le voo mehm)
C. Inside a restaurant…
5. “This restaurant isn’t as good as Mc.Donald’
“Ce restaurant n’est pas aussi bon que le Mc.Donalds’
(se re – staw – ran neh pas o – si bon ke le mac don – alds)
“Combien de vos clients sont morts?” (com – byen de vo clee – ent sont moo – ree)
“La police, ne t’a pas encore trouvé?”
(la po – lees ne ta pa zen – cor troo – vay)
“T’as une tête a faire sauter les plaques d’egouts!”
(ta zoon tait a fair saw – teh leh plahk de – goo)
E. Dealing with parents of children
“Vos enfants sont très beaux. Ils sont adoptes?”
(vo zen – fant son tray boh. Il sont a – dop – te)
“Mon Dieu, que vos enfants sont laids”
(Mon dyer ke voe zen – fant son lay)
By the way, don’t forget to speak french with your nose!