The Fairfax County School system decided students needed 3 years of a language to graduate – I took FOUR. Four years of French. Luckily, my next college waived all foreign language requirements if you had four years of high school. Fantastic – I’m a math person – less french meant more MATH. I transferred to Purdue and they were not as accepting. Although my major was Math and Statistics they required 12 credit hours of a foreign language. After years away from any French I managed to test out of 6 credit hours and was put back into 3rd year remedial french. It has always been unclear to me why Purdue required 12 credits of a math major but not of an education major. I think they only had to take up to two semesters.
In my entire life the French I learned has not been useful – until now.
Turns out it’s not needed. Most everyone here speaks passable English. On a couple of occasions where I have attempted to start a dialogue in French it goes like this:
French person: Hello – How are you (in English)
They totally know we are American by our Eddie Bower shirts and shants
The family may tell you that I had a conversation with a museum ticket agent. They were very impressed at my abilities. Little did they know that this is how the conversation really went
Elizabeth: Bonjour madame, Quelle age pour les ticket reduit? (What I hope I siad – Hello lady – what age for reduced tickets?
French ticket lady: french french french french french (with hand gesture towards the children)
Elizabeth: Mon fils as neuf (Hopefully – My son is 9)
French ticket lady: French french french french
Elizabeth: Parlez-anglais? (Maybe I said: Do you speak English?)
French ticket lady: <<staring>>
Elizabeth: Six tickets (It just sounds different said in French)
French ticket lady: How old are your children – SHE SAID IN ENGLISH!!!
Thank you so very much West Springfield High School and Purdue, those hours I spent in class, pouring over homework and goodness knows how many oral presentations given – REALLY came in handy.
Oh wait – I told the family that the “C” on the water handle is not “Cold” it is in fact “Chaud” or “Hot”. There, I saved my family.
Luckily most of today was spent lying on the beach after a trip to the Russian Cathedral. It was visually confirmed by all family members that thongs, with no top, on the beach, on a 60 degree day, in March, is permissable. There is also no need to find a bath-house if you wish to change out of your swimsuit. If you do it quickly – it’s not like you are really naked in public. Kind of like the 5-second rule when you drop food on the floor.