One thing no one ever tells you about when you are learning a language: Phone calls are impossible.
When you are talking, in person, to another human you can each see each other's expressions, hand movements, blank stares, etc. That's all taken out of the equation during a phone call.
Making a phone call is not bad. I know why I'm calling, what I want to say and what result I want from the call.
But when the phone rings – who knows? It could be a telemarketer talking at the speed of light or the neighbor saying his cows got loose. Both equally incomprehensible. Why do they think that if they talk faster I'll understand quicker? Doesn't usually work that way.
As I said, making a call is not bad…. Unless I'm returning a phone call; then I'm utterly clueless. Friday, when I got home after doing the shopping I had the dreaded blinking light on the phone. Merde! Someone left me a message. Now I was going to have to deal with it. I listened. I actually picked out a name and a telephone number. I was so pleased.
I called. The phone number was correct but the name was the name of the agency, not a person. So I did the only thing I could do: gave them my name and said 'Someone called me'. Eventually we got it sorted out – in French.
My French must be improving. Two years ago I wouldn't have understood enough to return the phone call. One year ago I would have understood enough to do it – but wouldn't have. I would have asked a my French teacher to do it. Progress of sorts I guess, but it seems so slow.
I'm off to the U.S. tomorrow to visit family, do some 'window-licking' (literal translation of the French term for 'window-shopping'), enjoy another spring. The photo is my wisteria – it kind of took over the area….
Yesterday, as I am frantically trying to get 'everything' done before I leave, I hear the dogs barking – and a strangely familiar voice. Our former Dutch neighbors from Andorra just popped in for a visit. They were on their way from Holland to Andorra and decided to see if they could find us. With the help of Google-Earth they drove right to us.
Is that wonderful? Or very scary?