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”).