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Une petite histoire (A Little Story)

October 13, 2014

I really do wish I had time to sit down and tell you all of the things about our life in language learning and France.  But, I barely sit down.  Even now, it is 11pm and we are still working on miscellaneous stuff.  Ah well…

So, I am going to share with you a fun story.  Not because it’s overly special or outstanding, but it’s simply a fun story, it happened today, and I have five minutes to type it out!

Each day, one of us goes to pick up the kids after school.  I usually make this last run of the day (we go back and forth twice each day, at least, so we take turns).  There is a little grocery on the corner between the school and our apartment, so the owner and friends who hang out outside, smoking their cigarettes and chatting at the picnic table, recognize most of the parents who make this trek.  I made it a point to be friendly early on and now know the store owner’s name.  They are a friendly, very French bunch.  On this day, as I rounded the corner to get the kids, a car pulled up and parked and a man with a bushy black beard got out.  He walked directly in front of me toward the picnic table.  He began to greet each person sitting around the table, as is French custom, with a hand shake and a hearty “bonjour!”  My walking pace timed directly so that, as he rounded the corner of the table, I met him on the same side.  I grinned, said “bonjour” to the others at the table as I walked up, and held out my hand for a shake from the bearded man.

I felt so clever and the guys all laughed.  But the friendly bearded man one-upped me by saying, as he shook my hand, “No!  En France, comme ca…” and properly greeted me as a friend, kissing each cheek!  However, I have lived in France long enough (a whole eight weeks) to have made this greeting more than once and played along.  Because it was friendly fun.  And because it meant that my forward handshake was embraced and welcomed as a friendly gesture, instead of a pompous one (this thought went through my mind – he might think I’m crazy – and his friends know “je suis americaine!”).

I was also grateful for a book Levi recently brought home from his school’s library called “Papa Pique” – which translates to something like “daddy’s face is scratchy from his beard” (yes that’s a lot of words to describe two…hence the reason we’re here learning French for ten months!).  I am grateful because once the laughter died down from Monsieur’s greeting, another of his friends asked me “Il pique?”  And I understood!  And I answered!  (“No, pas mal!”)  Thus, it ended and I got the kids from school (J’ai allé chercher mes enfants)…and went on with our day.

The End


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