At this point, and not too surprising, G and L are speaking and understanding way more than me. Yay for them. 🙂 Boo for me. 🙁 My impression is that if I don’t speak, people think the kids naturally speak French. If I say anything, they realize it’s definitely not their native language (because clearly I’m not fluent :/ ), and most people are genuinely impressed with the kids’ language skills and happy to compliment them, which is very nice. 🙂 Below are a few anecdotes, if you’re interested. 🙂
Travel information office. We’ve been to the Office de Tourisme three times now getting maps, directions, etc., and have talked to the same guide each time. The first two times were on the same day — once in the morning and once in the afternoon. G asked the questions the first time, and L asked the second time. A week later, we stopped in again to ask about nearby hiking trails. The kids wanted to talk to “Patricia” again, as she was there. 🙂 While G was talking to her about the trails, Patricia leaned over to get her colleague’s attention. She wanted to tell her that these are the two American children that she had told her about who speak French so well. 🙂 She, of course, told her all this in French, so I got the just of the conversation, but G and L totally understood what she was saying. They both were grinning from ear to ear and responded appropriately with “merci beaucoup.” 🙂
On the other hand, after we’d left the office, I remembered that I wanted to ask about a magazine highlighting activities for kids in and around Annecy. G came with me, but I gave it a go in handling the conversation and promptly asked if she knew about the “magasin for kids” which translates to the “shop for kids”. 🙁 G immediately looked at me with a very confused look, so I told her what I meant, and she quickly corrected me, as did the tourist guide. We all had a nice laugh about it!
Shopping with G. Last weekend was quite cold and rainy, and I decided the outerwear I packed wasn’t going to cut it, so G and I went shopping to find a coat for me. We found the perfect one at a little shop in the city center mall. I wanted to find out the return policy, so G helped with the question and translating the answer. 🙂 “La vendeuse” (the saleswoman) told her how good her French was, asked if she went to French school, and if she were teaching her mom. 🙂 (Note: I did understand most of what she said to G without having to have her translate it to me. Yay for me! 🙂 )
G and I went out shopping tonight, as it’s hard to just browse when it’s the three of us because L, not surprisingly, isn’t super interested in checking out shoes, clothes, etc. (Mike and L went to play ball in the park.) Anyway, G spoke to most of the salespeople as they had information to share with us or asked if they could help us find anything, and so she confidently answered the questions/responded to the information, no problem.
In one shop, I asked the saleswoman if she had another size for G, and the saleswoman didn’t break into English and checked on the size for me. I thought I’d done quite well, but G politely informed me afterward that I actually asked for a U.S. size (which I did correct during the conversation to the European size) and used the wrong word for the color I meant. C’est la vie! I’m trying. 🙂
At the last shop, G found a pair of converse-like shoes that she’s really interested in, but I told her she needed to talk to Mike before purchasing them. That said, I told her that she could ask (in French) to put them on hold. She did a great job. I was just the woman of few words (ha!) standing beside side her. 🙂
Library field trips. At the library yesterday, G used her French to ask questions about where the children’s section was, how to put the books on hold, what we need to get a library card, etc. Today, both G and L did a great job talking to the librarians as they both got library cards and used the computers.
Cafés and brasseries. While having an afternoon snack, G did the ordering and asked a few questions. As the waitress walked away, she gave G a pat on the head and told her how good her French was. 🙂 L asked a few follow-up questions later on. He was sitting on the other side of the table so didn’t get the pat on the head, but he was very happy to have avoided it! 🙂