tevan alexander
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April 18, 2005
Remember Your Hands
Speaking English in some parts of Europe is like driving in New York City: you'll only get to where you're going with perseverance. People will get impatient with you, and vice versa, but each of you will only be right in the context of your own perspective.

In France, the first question isn't "Where's the bathroom?" -- it's "Parlez-vous anglais?" After that it's a chapter of Choose Your Own Adventure. Either you end up on the toilet or stuck at the register creatively rephrasing your question.

Fortunately, hands are multilingual. You can point, make gestures, and shape objects in every language ever conceived. There's room for interpretation when you point to your crotch, but they'll figure it out.

Before leaving America I was under the impression that there were a greater proportion of assholes in Europe, especially France, than elsewhere. I have been proven wrong. Not only have the people here tolerated the outcome of my truancy, but many have gone out of their way to send me in the right direction. The key? I've always brought my hands. And a dictionary.

2 > post a comment

"ou est la toilette?" is what i think you need. ah, francais. a week and a half more and then NEVER AGAIN will i etudie french! NEVER!

always remember to greet shopkeepers with "bonjour" because my french teacher in high school said that they'd hate you, call you an ugly american and refuse to give you a baguette if not something worse.

ps. i'm working on sitting down and emailing you. i'll let you know what my england schedule looks like at the end of the week or beginning of next week.


Anonymouslink to this comment
April 20, 2005 12:12 AM

thanks for the french, meredith -- I'm in madrid now!

you can e-mail me while standing. do let me know!

tevanlink to this comment
April 20, 2005 4:37 AM