Sunday, July 11, 2010
The one thing that I haven't mentioned about this trip is how humbling it is to be among people and not speak their language. Liliane is a wonderful interpreter, but she can't constantly interpret everything in my ear when we are with a group of non-English speaking people--like last night. We were invited for dinner to a couple's house. Their home was lovely, overlooking a beautiful forest. When we arrived we greeted each other with kisses on both cheeks, and Liliane introduced me as the American, with the emphasis on the last syllable. Everyone smiles and nods politely. One lady told Liliane, in French, of course, that the only thing she could say was "I love you." They continue their conversations, as friends will do, and I'm completely lost, just kind of smiling when they do. Every once in a while after everyone had a big laugh, Liliane would explain what the conversation was about. Then help arrived in the way of a very unusual couple, the son and daughter-in-law of the couple who hosted the party. The daughter-in-law was Japanese, and spoke Japanese and English, and the son spoke French and English. They couldn't speak in each other's language, so they spoke to each other in English! They met and fell in love in Canada. They were delightful. Sitting at the table, the girl would constantly ask her young husband, what are they talking about? He would patiently explain the story in English to her. She is trying to learn French, but obviously hasn't a good grasp of it at all yet. When dinner finally ended around 12:00, she asked me if I was tired. She laughed and said that French people like to talk a lot and for a long time!