My French Fake Pas in Quebec


A number of years in the past, my husband Lynn and I traveled as much as Canada in our motorhome. We deliberate to go to the cities of Montreal and Quebec, the place our respective ancestors had lived. We discovered the Canadians very pleasant and accommodating, however as we obtained additional east of Quebec Metropolis, we found that fewer and fewer of them spoke any English. Nevertheless, I used to be not frightened as a result of I had three semesters of faculty French and two years of highschool Spanish underneath my belt. What I used to be not ready for was how my rusty reminiscence mis-translated phrases into French.

After a guided tour of a small vineyard, we wished to enterprise into French-speaking Canada on our personal, so we requested for options to a restaurant for lunch that was frequented by “locals” slightly than by vacationers. We have been directed to a captivating restaurant off the crushed monitor that was harking back to a French chateau.

Our waitress spoke no English, however how troublesome might or not it’s to order a easy lunch? In response to her request for our beverage order, I made my first fake pas by ordering “leche” (milk) for Lynn and “the chaud avec limon” (scorching tea with lemon) for myself. The poor younger woman was clearly confused by my order, so I pulled out my trusty French-English dictionary. It seems that I ought to have used “lait” for milk as an alternative of the Spanish “leche” and though lemonade interprets to the French “limonade”, lemon by itself really interprets to “citron”. A lot for making an attempt out my linguistic skills.

We seen that a lot of the patrons within the café ordered the every day particular (“le plat du jour”) which we additionally ordered. We thought it will give us a little bit style of journey, in addition to a style of native cooking. As well as, I felt assured that I might really make myself understood. The particular turned out to be two enormous slices of ham loaf with a scrumptious creamy mustard sauce, served with two diced greens that weren’t acquainted to us. After a lot confusion and dictionary looking out in response to my question, the waitress went into the kitchen and returned with samples of the 2 greens previous to preparation. We have been lastly in a position to decide that they have been parsnips and rutabaga. The entire meal was tasty and satisfying, due partly to our little escapade into unfamiliar territory.

On one other day we visited the beautiful little church the place my husband’s earliest ancestor was supposedly buried. After we entered the church, we have been greeted by 4 aged matrons who served as docents to guests. We have been charmed to see every of them dressed of their Sunday-best garments from the right hats on their cautious coiffures all the best way to their spotless white gloves and classy sneakers.

Sadly, they spoke not a single phrase of English. So I pulled out my painfully ready translation, which stated we have been searching for the grave of my husband’s ancestors and bravely spoke in what I believed was comparatively good French. They checked out us with clean expressions, then checked out one another and requested “Que?”, which is “What?” So my confidence degree in talking fluent French was shot down a little bit decrease.

After a lot confusion and assuredly pointing at particular person phrases in my trustworthy dictionary, we have been lastly in a position to perceive the situation of the oldest a part of their cemetery. It was a disgrace that the oldest headstones had weathered too severely through the years to be learn. Apparently they have been fabricated from sandstone that didn’t stand as much as the weather. However we have been assured that we had certainly discovered the precise cemetery.

After we noticed the cemetery, two of the stunning mature women insisted on giving us a tour of the outdated church. It was fairly apparent that they have been exceptionally happy with the structure and historical past. Our ancestors had emigrated from right here in Canada right down to a small part of land in central Illinois, the place we now seen stunning similarities in each the constructing construction and ornamentation of our church. We had not beforehand acknowledged the correlation between the 2 city church buildings.

Our go to to the smaller, less-traveled cities was one of many highlights of our journey, despite the difficulties speaking. However so long as we’ve got our trusty French-English dictionary, we’re good to go. A bit French fake pas from time to time shouldn’t be going to dampen our enthusiasm for touring in Japanese Canada…simply so long as the locals proceed to have endurance with us.


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