Notes to self: French edition


May 31, 2011 by jessperriam

1. If you don’t really speak German so well, don’t try to order coffee in German.

You will only serve to confuse people.

Friday morning after an earlyish flight from Manchester to Frankfurt, a scantily caffeinated Jess walks up to an airport cafe and says: “Cappuccino, bitte.”

“Kleine? Grosse?”

*embarrassed look* “I’m sorry, I was just kind of uh… messing with you trying to be polite, speaking your own language…” Now smiling, trying to flirt my way out of it.

“Ok,” he smiled back. “Kleine or… damn it! Small or big?”

“”Uh… small thanks,” and smile and hand over three euros.

Kleine cappuccino, bitte!” he yelled to his colleague.

Moral of the story: Try and have a bit more vocabulary behind you before you try ordering coffee in other languages. Also, you can make mistakes and so long as you smile you can still look reasonably cute. Bonus.

2. Eggs aren’t so bad.

Something happened this weekend that will shock and stun people who know me well or have known me for a long time.

I ate eggs.

Not once, not twice, but thrice.

Pick yourselves up off the floor, dust yourselves off and gather around as I tell this story of overcoming crazy fears.

I’ve not liked eggs since I was a little person, the scent of them in a cooked breakfast used to make me want to hurl. Mostly I think that was teenage dramatics.

But on Friday I’d been awake since 4.30am and breakfast didn’t happen on the plane until 8.30am. So when I was handed a cheese, tomato ketchup and omelette panini, I wasn’t really in a condition to refuse it. And you know what? I didn’t mind it – mostly because it didn’t taste like anything. But that’s most aeroplane food, right?

Then I stepped of the plane and my friend Emilie picked me up with her delightful baby in tow. We were driving back to her place and she asked me if I’d had lunch. Not if you count the chocolate I was given on my second leg of the journey to Basel.

So we went to the bakery in search of lunch. My friend suggested quiche and I pulled a face that countersuggested that two egg dishes in one day may be a bridge to far, but I didn’t vocalise and I said that quiche would be brilliant, thanks very much.

And I’m glad I blagged it because quiche in France is amazing and not over-egged like the Anglo version.

By Sunday morning I was full of French food and I’d pretty much eat anything if you told me it was French. So when we were having an alfresco French Mothers Day brunch and a boiled egg appeared on my plate I just went for it, after all, there was nothing left to lose.

And you know what?

I didn’t hate it.

3. Some people don’t find the whole being so close to other countries such a big deal.

My friends live ridiculously close to other countries. You can see Germany and Switzerland from their apartment in France, in fact you can walk there and in a matter of minutes.

I find that amazing – it takes hours , sometimes days to get out of a state in my world. The fact that you can be in one country and see two other still makes me smile.

My friend knows nothing different. But she tolerates my awe.

4. Elton John is an amazing musician.

He’s a great singer songwriter but he is a phenomenal pianist. I was amazed that he managed to play for almost three hours straight with no sheet music.

I also found it odd that the French go crazy for different Elton John hits to anglophones. You’d think the crowd would go wild for Tiny Dancer? No. They went absolutely bananas for Nikita.

One thing was certain, I had a grin on my face when he sang Rocket Man as I thought of William Shatner.

5. French television presenters are so good looking they start looking ugly.

I honestly don’t understand this phenomenon and perhaps it’s because I haven’t watched much television in England but French television presenters are really good looking.

That is until you’ve been watching for about five minutes and you realise they’re actually 45 year old made up to look like 30 year olds and people don’t really look like that. Nor should they ever look like that. France2 8pm newsreader man, I’m looking at squarely at you.

6. Must spend more time in France.

The more time I spend there as a fully functioning, sensible adult, the more I like it.


3 thoughts on “Notes to self: French edition

  1. Phil Kan says:

    One of my proudest moments was realizing I knew enough French to comfortably order a coffee (actually, another coffee) whilst sitting outdoors in the place in Aix en Provence. The waiter didn’t batter an eyelid, and knew my europeanisation was complete…

    • jessperriam says:

      There is a certain sense of satisfaction in that. I remember being able to communicate at a restaurant in French without needing to resort to English while in Nice last year. Then, I kid you not, a bunch of empty nesters from Perth sat at the table next to me and didn’t even try to speak a word of French. I told the waiters that they came from the same city as me and they were in disbelief!

  2. homeisaname says:

    Big hug for you and the eggs. I feel the same way. Especially with – ugh – ketchup.

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