Parlez-vous francais?

There are a lot of things about our apartment that feel French.  The windows, doors, and fact that there are separate rooms for the shower and toilet.  All total, I’ve probably spent two years in France – more there than any other foreign country, so, it shouldn’t surprise me that when I am out of my comfort zone and someone is speaking to me in a foreign language, my immediate instinct is to speak French back to them.   While it’s nice to know that I can recall some basic conversational French from the deep recesses of my brain, it doesn’t help when someone is speaking to me in Chichewa.

Sandy thinks this is hilarious.  On a walk back from our little grocery store, we waved at a few little kids playing soccer.  One of them said a few sentences in Chichewa and looked up at me for a response.  My brain was trying to find something that would allow me to communicate with him, but all I found was the French response for “pardon me?”  He stared up blankly.  We just left it at that and kept walking, but Sandy laughed about it for a while.

I bet sometime soon, maybe once we are back in the US,  I’ll find someone who speaks French and I will respond to them in Chichewa.  I can’t wait to see that reaction…In the meantime, I’ll keep working on my Chichewa.

Speaking of, here is what I know how to say in Chichewa: beer, banana, hello, how are you, stay well, travel well, market, please, thank you, I like, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and pizza (which is “pizza”).

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Parlez-vous francais?

  1. BB

    Here’s one more for you in Chichewa…..Coca-Cola. It is the same in all languages. Au revoir, BB

    P.S. Loving your blog.

  2. Barb

    I think you are doing well. Dave used to travel to South America and the only two things he could say in spanish were “Donde es el bano?” (where is the bathroom) and “la quenta, por favor” (can I have the check please?). At least you can order some food!

  3. JAN

    ya’ll etes very drole!

    je t’ove

  4. Meliss

    Chant: Je ne sais pas Chichewa! Je ne sais pas Chichewa! Je ne sais pas Chichewa!

    Love the blog! 🙂

  5. Ginny

    Kate, I would have probably said the exact same thing….i thought about using French in Prague multiple times! haha

  6. BB

    There are 9.3 million speakers of the Chichewa. Apparently you and Sandy won’t be added to the roster right away but I’m impressed by how much you’ve picked up (“beer” being the most important phrase). Looked up some words — oooh, not easy.

  7. alex Evans

    great note today. thanks for sharing it. sorry to be unavailable today when sandy sent a text. we were in zabar’s – a cool deli/market in NYC.
    keep up the commentary. we love hearing about your thoughts and insights. love you.

  8. abby

    kate and sandy i just love your blog!! it is so much fun to live vicariously through your posts- i can’t wait for those to come! stay happy, i’m so glad you are, and all the best to you both.

  9. Kennedy (Cousin)

    Teach me Chichewa, heard the ladies love it!

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