There’s nothing like two people talking about the same thing, differently; one in a foreign language, the other with a foreign accent; to really cock-up the simplest request.
There is a phone next to the bed mon mari is currently lounging in.
We thought it would be kind of fun if it worked.
I asked one of the nurses how to use it. She told me that we had to pay for it.
Well, of course we would have to pay for it…. But how do we get it to work?
She repeated that we had to pay for it and then sent me to the main desk.
I assumed that we had to pre-pay the phone: buy a phone card, minutes, whatever. All phone calls in Europe, even locals ones, are charged for. Pre-paid cards and plans are common and have been around for years.
I went to the main desk and told the nice young woman that I wanted to pay for the phone in mon mari‘s room so he could use it.
She asked when he would be leaving.
I said I didn’t know, and what difference did it make anyway?
She started to send me to the billing office.
I said that I had already been sent to her.
A discussion of sorts ensued:
Me explaining that we just wanted the phone to work and what did we have to do to make that happen.
She explaining that in order to pay for the phone, we needed to get the final bill from the accounting office after discharge.
Of course, by this time my comprehension of what she was saying in her rapid French was rapidly diminishing, and her comprehension of what I was saying in my accented French was nill.
Finally, another young lady walked over and asked, in English, what I wanted. I repeated that I just wanted to be able to use the phone.
She turned to the first young woman and said, in French, the exact same thing I had been saying, also in French.
But now it was understood.
She asked me his room number again, looked at her monitor, hit a couple of keys and: Voila!
We pay when we leave…. And no charge for incoming calls…
Sometimes I think we try so hard to understand what the other person is saying that we simply forget to listen….
Sometimes we do that in our own language as well.
One of the things that I really missed, during the first 6 months or so of leaving the U.S. was bottled salad dressing. There was nothing similar in Ireland, or anywhere else in Europe.
I soon learned to make my own.
I learned how incredibly simple it is; and how incredibly quick and easy.
The last time I was in the U.S. I wandered through the salad dressing aisle, reading the ingredients in the ‘Regular’, ‘Light’, ‘Free’, ‘Reduced Fat’, etc. versions of what I used to eat. Some didn’t have any recognizable food in them….
I’ll never go back!
The theme for this month’s Heart of the Matter is herbs.
Two of my favorite spring herbs, oregano (top, in red) and garlic chives are in this creamy, yogurt based dressing that is one of my favorites. It’s also great for dipping artichoke leaves….
(Loosely based on a recipe from a Williams-Sonoma book on Salads:)
Creamy Herb Dressing with Yogurt
This is very similar to ‘Ranch’.
2/3 cup (5oz, 150ml) Greek or plain yogurt
1 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs fresh snipped garlic or regular chives
1 tbs fresh snipped oregano
3 tbs olive oil – the good stuff
Snip oregano and chives with scissors. In small bowl whisk yogurt, mustard and vinegar. Add oil, a bit at a time and whisk well. Add herbs. This will keep a week.
How about a nice ‘heart-healthy’ salad to eat it on??
Salad with Creamy Dressing, Tuna, Walnuts and Cheese
greens: lettuce, spinach, mesclun
4oz (125gr) tuna
1/2 cup walnut halves
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup creamy herb dressing
1/4 cup shredded cheese – any flavor
Prepare greens and put into a medium bowl. Add a bit of dressing and toss to coat (use tongs, it’s easier). Taste and add more dressing if desired. Arrange tuna, tomatoes and walnuts on top. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle a bit more dressing.
The host for this month’s Heart of the Matter is Michelle, of The Accidental Scientist.
She’ll have the complete, heart-healthy round-up on the 2nd or 3rd of June…. Check it out!