July 6, 2016 we left Niagara Falls and the province of Ontario for Quebec. Of course, we knew that French would be useful, but we didn’t realize just how useful it would be. It was a very long drive, especially when my dad missed an exit which would have helped us avoid traffic. And instead of trying to turn around, he continued into the hot mess which was Autoroute 20 or 30 or both or whatever. We had to drive through Montreal during rush hour plus road work. So, you can imagine how much fun that was. Needless to say, we got to the hotel a little late. Fortunately, it was close to the highway or things could have gotten ugly if we got lost again.
My husband and I walked in first while my parents waited in the car. At the hotel reception, we were met with, “bon soir.” I know how to say that and I even know what it means. He proceeded to speak French and then asked if I spoke English or French, so I broke the news to him. I studied French in high school and remember very little. But hey, I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio which doesn’t exactly boast a bustling French speaking area. In fact, the same could be said about the entire state. Many states. Two things came to mind when I realized the fun we would have.
- The scene from “Just Married” when they reach the hotel in France and all they keep saying is, “Bonjour. Merci.” Our “French” seemed to be only that. I smiled and laughed inside every time someone tried to speak to us in French. All I wanted to say was, “Bonjour and Merci.”
The second came after I tried to teach my husband how to ask if a person speaks English. I do remember a couple things ;).
2. The scene from “Friends” when Joey was trying to learn French for an audition. If you need to be reminded of that little piece of fun, it’s here. Admittedly, my husband wasn’t as bad as Joey, but it’s still the first thing I thought of. We all had a good laugh about that.
Against my better judgment, we sent my husband and my father to buy food, alone. I had tried to equip them with a basic question to help them, but it didn’t work. They left the hotel on a mission. We were sending them to a restaurant which wasn’t far from the hotel, but they still got lost. They went inside a gas station where my husband asked in English if they spoke English. He didn’t even try to use the French I tried to teach him. Men! He said that when he asked, they got a response. In French! Luckily, there was a man nearby who heard their cries for help and gave them directions. Around the corner.
This would only be the beginning of our adventures trying to make our way around a city where English is not the preferred medium of communication…
Let the games begin!