Thursday, August 12, 2010

American Cultural Insight from the French

Here’s a few conversations I’ve had this week. Where applicable, they are translated into English for the benefit of your ability to read it, and my ability to remember (still not thinking in French).

French Man: Where are you from in the USA?

Me: Kentucky.

FM: Where’s that?

Me: It’s sort of in the middle of the USA.

FM: Oh. Is it near Los Angeles?

Me: No.

FM: Is it near New York?

Me: No.

FM: Is it near Washington?

Me: Neither one.

FM: Huh? Oh, well, I don’t know it.

Teenage French Girl: Oh, you’re American? So you like big sandwiches?! [Mime’s holding a giant burger to face and taking a bite]

Me: Umm, sure.

French Lady: What size shoes are those, 58? You can’t buy something that big in France, can you?

Me: 13 in US sizing, 47.5 in European. Yes. Yes I can buy shoes here. Thank you.

French Boy: Were you just speaking English? Are you from England?

Me: Yes I was, but no, I’m from the USA.

FB: Oh. Where is that in England?

Me: It’s not in England. I’m American. The USA is another country.

FB: So it’s not somewhere in England?

Me: No. A whole different country.

FB: So how do you know English?

Me: We speak English in the USA.

FB: And where is it?

Me: Across the ocean. Far away.

FB: Huh.

This conversation I’ve had a few times, more or less the same, with different kids. It makes me worry about the education over here. I mean are the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria not standard part of a kid’s early schooling in France? What’s wrong with these people? Christopher Columbus? The New World? Any of that ring a bell?

(This conversation was not in French, so the words below were the actual ones spoken)

Me: I heard that you speak English.

British Guy: Well, I’m British.

Me: Oh ok. I’m American.

BG: So neither of us speak English then, do we?

This morning we were sharing breakfast with 6 French friends around a table. Sawyer got up midway through and squatted into a catcher’s stance next to the table. He then grabbed his toes, lowered his head, and began straining and grunting. Classy.

Even more classy is that our friends then asked us the English word for what he was doing. We said ‘poop’, and then the breakfast conversation was dominated by a bunch of French people saying ‘poop’ over and over.

French Man, born and raised in Toulouse, France, never been to the USA: So where are you from in the USA?

Me: Kentucky.

FMfT: Oh yeah? They have a great basketball team at the University of Kentucky.

Me: Will you be my friend?


Ashlee said...

LOVE IT!!!!! I'm pretty sure the last is my favoritebut beyond that I'd have trouble deciding.

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Kara Joy said...

Thank you for the perfect start to my day. I'll let Kim know her favorite conversation piece was included.

M.S. said...

Wow. Love it! Thanks for sharing! Megan S.