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Grab the Knife, Part II, Garlic in FRENCH = Ail

Slicing a smashed clove of garlic

To catch you up, Part I is lounging on the Cassis beachwalk, studying French, overhearing private fone conversations and then  deciding it’s getting too cold to stay out – as the sun sets behind the calanques……

So – I headed back up the steep hill – hobbling all the way  with my ridiculous knee, and dropped my things into the  apartment trying to decide if I should use the French I had been so diligently memorizing for my proprietors.  I mustered up the courage and grabbed my dictionary & my MAC and went to the other side of the Grand Maison.   I knocked and they opened the door – all smiles  and I smiled back and said the things I had memorized…….(after the usual “Bonsoir Jean et Danielle;)    Comment s’est passé votre sejour au Maroc?  and  Etait le beau temps? ”   “How was your vacation in Morocco? and Was the weather good?”  Well!  I had hardly  allowed those freshly memorized phrases escape from my lips then they started into big time French greetings for atleast 30 seconds ushering me into their very big……no – very white, white WHITE   GINORMOUS   living room  over looking, I might add, that beautiful CAP CANAILLE,  that I honestly wonder if they heard me, and then the Madame says,

The southern France wine region of Cassis (pic...

The southern France wine region of Cassis (pictured) is one of the few places in the world that is still growing Pascal blanc.

”  Oh, si vous parlez bien français maintenant   —   Oh so you’re speaking French well now”……..Oh how untrue that was………

But nevermind, they pleased me to no end asking me FIRST THING, if I had gone to the United States to VOTE!!!

Ofcourse I told them that it was invigorating and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.  The media coverage – ad nauseam, I could do without.   (The political – Presidential scenes are wrapped up in 5 weeks, here in France!) Oh for that to be a change in the US!!!

Day after new French President elected, Le Poi...

I then showed them the note from my doctor and asked them in horrible French if they could make the “rendezvous” (appointment) for me – for my knee.(GENOU in French.)  They understood, but things became more complicated after that as they wanted to know specifics, as Madame was relaying her story of her knees, both of them, and how the doctor had done ( something something) and I was straining to hear her words- just ONE that I could understand.   Finally, confused and frustrated I opened my MAC and started writing her with Google Translate.  It worked!  But then she had to write in FRENCH, and the keyboard is so different, and that frustrated HER. Then she said a word about her knee that didn’t appear in the dictionary or google, and suffice it to say, it was MAL, (BAD) and I nodded. VERY BAD KNEES.  Got it. They did explain that I was too young for knee replacements, that they didn’t do this so much in France as it’s too invasive, and that there are GEL treatments and other things  to do first.  Good, I don’t want a knee replacement if I can possible do without.

Knee skeleton diagram

Knee skeleton diagram (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, She proceeded to tell me that her knees were now fine and when I asked what they did, she said, ‘They gave me pills” (in French )  and some injections – and I said , ‘What kind of pills” and  well,  whatever she said – didn’t translate – and I had to take it at face value that they  were wonderful, they did the trick, and that was pretty much that.

When we started into the conversation of my trip to Saint Louis, and my grandchildren, I was able to speak about this, fairly well, and when they asked me about pictures of the 4 grands, I gladly, opened the MAC again and showed them my kids.       They seem very delighted.  They have 3 of their own.  Which makes me want to talk to them more than ever.  I love hearing about other people’s grands, kids, family.

ERRGGGGG!  The FRUSTRATION of not being able to speak to people.  You have no idea. We said our avoir’s , Merci’s  – and “Bon Soiree’s” and I hobbled down their  outside staircase. When I entered my teeny  apartment, I took out my frustrations with my big fat knife, slammed a huge piece of raw garlic on the cutting board,  smashed and cut it up in the tiniest of mincing possible, heated up the olive oil, threw in the ground beef, minced up some green peppers and  shallots and once again found some semblance of relief by these actions.  🙂

I made some dish that looked something like this……………………….

Tomato and herb spagetti

Tomato and herb spagetti (Photo credit: :Salihan)

(I forgot to take my OWN picture, sorry) and     yes, this was accomplished  on just 2 small HOTPLATES in my Ironing board size kitchen.

I want to speak to THESE PEOPLE  SO VERY MUCH.   I’ll fight on – and learn the bloody language, come hell or high water…….even if I only learn to speak it like  a 4 year old!!

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great post! Your description of your French conversation was so real I felt that I was there with you!

    November 19, 2012
  2. Jon Howard #

    Candy & I so enjoying your musings. Understand your language frustrations having spent years studying Spanish & Italian to use at work.

    November 20, 2012

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