This is me pretending to be European, back during our trip to Switzerland in June. The highlights of which were chocolate (duh) and practicing my very rusty French.
I studied abroad in France in college. I’d taken 4 years of language classes before going, and when the plane touched down I couldn’t wait to don my beret and begin dazzling people with my conversation skills.
My first thought when I got off the plane was, “Holy sh*t, they let me off in the wrong country.”
I couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying to me.
As it turns out, real French people talk a lot faster than Pierre and Marie from my textbooks did. They also discussed more complicated topics than going to the library or purchasing a nice fish for dinner.
Despite my initial setback, I was determined to master the language. My first step was to make some French friends.
I was delighted when one of the French girls I befriended invited me to spend the weekend at her parents’ house in the country. The house was beautiful and her family was warm and welcoming.
What’s more, I was doing pretty well with my French--until breakfast with her extended family on the second day.
The spread was beautiful--farm fresh eggs, cafe au lait, and croissants warm from the oven. I was seated next to my friend’s hard-of-hearing grandmother. Tearing off a piece of bread, I pointed to the jam next to her plate.
“Passez-moi le préservatif, s’il vous plaît,” I said with my best French accent.
“Quoi?” she shouted, cupping her hand around her ear.
“PASSEZ MOI LE PRESERVATIF!” I shouted.
The whole table went silent. As it turns out, the word “préservatif” does not mean jam in French.
It means condom.
I had just asked her 80-year-old grandmother to pass me the condom.
I wanted to die of embarrassment, but luckily, she thought it was so funny she could hardly breathe--and then for a moment I worried she might be the one to die.
There is no point to this story, I just thought you all might need a mid-week laugh at my expense.