Language lessons are a wonderful preparation to ask questions in the language of your new country, because let's face it, there are questions you will want to ask, like:
- May I have a glass of red wine?
- Where is the toilet?
- What time is the bus to Kirchberg?
- Do you have this in a size 39?
- Would you like to go for lunch this week?
- May I have the bill?
After a semester or two one can totally ask questions to your hearts content! However, nothing and no-one can prepare you to answer one in response to any of these.... or even to understand the answer!
For example - If I ask "Do you have this in a size 39?" the reply could be "If you want it in a different colour, then yes." I have apparently mastered the art of a blank stare, and they look at me with such sympathy and switch to English. This horrifies me because I know I won't ever learn like that.
On the weekends, when My Man and I walk the dogs together in the forest, we often cross paths with a lovely elderly gent who is clearly out for his walk too. He always stops and has long chats with both dogs (not us, other than a greeting), and gives them dog treats that seem to always be available.
This morning I was walking Tigger alone, and I happened to bump into him. He greeted me and then said something in French. I was not prepared to be spoken to, and didn't quite get it, I said 'Pardon?' and he repeated himself and I worked out that he was asking where the other dog was. I managed to put together 5 words and he seemed to understand. Then we wished one another a good day, and carried on along our merry ways.
As I walked, I replayed the conversation in my head and I was so annoyed with myself because I realised I could totally say "My other dog is at home. Together, they are too strong for me. This afternoon I walk the other dog." I could have said all of that (Except for 'strong'...I don't know what that is, but that's easy to do with arm gestures). The grammar may not have been 100% but it would totally be understandable. Why did I freak out and think I couldn't reply?
It's being unprepared I suppose! Frustrating, but it will come. Persistence!
Speaking of which, my third semester of French starts on Thursday. Yippeeee! I am so looking forward to it.
Have a lovely week all you beautiful people.