Please meet my new friend. Let’s just call him Pierre. Okay, we’re not exactly friends. To him, I’m just a customer who shows up at 9:00 p.m. every night and orders a crepe with Nutella, with two bottles of water. But for me, Pierre is a friend who brings such joy to my life, and I look forward to our conversation every night.
Pierre: Bonsoir, madame.
Me: Aaahh … uummm … crepe … with … Nutella, souuuu vuuuu plea?
Pierre: Crepe with Nutella, sure.
Me: Aaaah … and … dou “o.”
Pierre: Sure, two bottle waters.
Pierre: You’re welcome. That’ll be 720 Euro.
Pierre: (Hands me the crepe and water bottles.) Have a wonderful night, madame.
It took exactly a block for me to realize that he was actually speaking to me in English.
French people, and I guess Europeans in general, are impressive. Everyone speaks beautiful English, even kids. Even the ones who say, “I only speak a little English” can speak it fluently! They’re just being humble and polite.
I try to speak as much French as possible but since the only French vocabularies I know are “bonjour” and “merci,” it’s a bit of a struggle (Note to self: Buy Rosetta Stone). I even find myself blurring out random Spanish words for no particular reason. Maybe it’s because my brain automatically associates a foreign language with Spanish since that is the first “second” language I learned (Japanese and English excluded) but it’s quite embarrassing, if you can imagine. (I actually did the same thing in Brazil the time I was there, although I was fully aware that Portuguese is spoken there, and not Spanish.) But they are very generous about trying to understand you.
Despite all the stereotypes, I truly feel that French are some of the kindest and most helpful people around. And they sure know how to make amazing crepes.
See you tomorrow, Pierre!
Metro: Odeon. It’s right when you exit the Odeon metro station.