Paris. Day 1.

Right now, I’m in one of the world’s best tourism hotspots: Paris.

“Que est-ce que vous voulez boire?” *”What do you want to drink?”

“Jus d’orange!” *”Orange juice!”

This conversation happened in the plane and it got me very excited to finally speak their language or strike up a conversation with the Parisians. However before the flight attendant got to my row I practiced saying ‘Jus d’orange’ about ten times. It unnerved the HELL out of me.

What if I say it wrongly? What if I offend him? What if he thinks if I’m just another one of those foreigners who only knows how to say ‘bonjour’ and ‘au revoir’? (This fear stems from the moment a receptionist scolded me for using a word the wrong way in a question. I have been very cautious with my words after that)

I managed to say it properly and this I know when the flight attendant smiled while grabbing the can of orange juice I requested for. Shaun 1 Parisians 0! WOOHOO!

Then there was the taxi ride to the hotel. I had no idea what to or how to ask the driver when we were going to reach or how far we still had left. My family knew I went for classes. So with that came the terrifyingly high expectation of being that translator they never had. A translator which they spent so much money. PER HOUR.

When a question was asked in French, I couldn’t utter the answer. My lips? Clenched. My brain? Frozen.

During dinner I asked for warm water in French. “L’eau chaude, s’il vous plait,” I uttered, without any confidence. *chaude means warm.

Chaude! Chaude!

Then came a bottle of cold tap water. Damn it.

So long self-esteem, see you never!

Then it hit me. The beginning is always daunting, with thoughts of settling in as a student in University of Leeds lucid. So tomorrow, I shall ask the receptionist for the room key correctly.

Instead of vingt zéro trois (twenty zero three), I will ask for deux cents trois. I only found out about the correct way after blatantly making the mistake in front of him (which left me totally embarrassed) but at least right now I know the right way.

The gist today? Make a mistake. So you will never need to make it again.

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6 thoughts on “Paris. Day 1.

  1. Just a thing before thousands others : l’eau is feminine, so you must say ” l’eau chaude” . ( But I don’t understand why anybody would ask for hot water in a restaurant . To do your washing ? )
    Another thing : there’s no risk a Frenchman would feel offended if you don’t speak well . What a crazy idea . Does anybody anywhere feel offended when foreigners can’t speak perfectly ? If it was so I would have been killed long ago .

    1. Hello phildange. First of all thank you very much for the correction! And I requested for hot water to drink. Sometimes, it is nice to drink a cup of something hot in the chilly weather.

      About that offended thing, there was once where the receptionist scolded me for using a word in a question the wrong way. I have been very cautious with my words after that. 🙂

  2. Hello lady . There’s a thing you must know to prevent any future misunderstanding . In France pupils are taught to speak properly with a strong determination . The result is you commonly can hear people correcting each other after a mistake, even between French . There’s no pride in it, it became sort of automatic . Sometimes I remember having chatted 2 minutes in a group of friends about what was correct French or not . This to make you understand people don’t scold you, and don’t feel offended . It’s mechanical, and it will happen to you several times in the future . Take it as free lessons .
    And about the restaurant, it’s so uncommon to ask for hot water I’m sure the waiter thought that as a foreigner you made a confusion between hot and cold in French .
    Well good luck, and have a nice time beside lessons in language .

    1. Hello again phildange, you were right. They loved correcting me today! Felt like I learned so much. Btw to return the favor, in English we don’t say ‘Hello lady’. It doesn’t sound appropriate. You should say ‘Hello miss’.

  3. Pardon me, I didn’t know if you were a Miss or a Missis . But I remember a time when it was quite common (and pleasant ) in some hairy spheres to say ” Hey Lady ! “, in life or in songs .
    You’re maybe too young; but don’t you watch old movies or listen to old songs ?
    Anyway, I do mistakes in English and I appreciate corrections too . Keep on rockin’ !

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