We are truly awful at a few things. Two things we both really suck at are directions, and foreign languages. But we try. On both counts. We march out of our flat every morning after pouring over paper maps and Google maps. We write down names of streets and plot each turn. Lately we take a picture of our computer screen with the Google map up - cause Bob's BRILLIANT!! We still get lost constantly.
Linguistically we give it our all, but we're starting at the very beginning with every language. It should be embarrassing -- sometimes it is, other times we just laugh at how bad we are. People laugh with us, or at us. This morning we met the scowl of the man in a boulangerie with a chirpy "bonjour," and followed it up by butchering the language as we ordered in French. He spoke no more English than we did French, but he lightened up as we tried hard to communicate. By the end of the transaction he was giving us all free pastries and complementing Ella on her "pistache macaroon."
The other day Bob stopped a guy on the corner to ask "Excusez-moi, au d'Orsay?" to which he replied in a mid-western drawl "I don't speak any French."
"Obviously neither do I!" Bob said.
Here's our favorite story so far: Today, at the Louvre, we had finished our snack, and Brenna was telling the waitress what we'd eaten, in order to get our tally: "Un thé, un crepe, du lait, un cafe, un beignet..."
The waitress cringed, said "Please don't speak French." and walked away.
Brenna got her revenge. The waitress came back with a calculator to add up the bill, and when she announced, in a think French accent "So you pay nineteen twenty," Brenna just stared at her. "Nineteen twenty," the waitress said again, a little louder. Brenna said, baffled, "I have no idea what you're saying." She stayed baffled until the waitress showed her the total on the calculator, "Ahh, nineteen twenty!" and then Brenna paid nineteen twenty, exactly.