I am Scarlet Johannson. Venturing out alone, in a strange land, with people who talk funny, like. Or just going to the same area I’ve already been to several times surrounded by people who look exactly the same as they do in Britain. And it did take me several years to finally understand Bristolian, so I should get French eventually too.
The thing about being in a country where you don’t speak the language is that you become ever so slightly paranoid. Paranoid that whenever you walk into a shop and you hear someone speak you think they’re talking to you. Paranoid when you see someone laugh that they’re laughing at or about you. My French is at a very basic stage which means that I can say quite a few things, but can rarely understand what is said to me in response, unless it’s said really slowly, and with exaggerated lip movements.
Spent 10 mins in a mobile phone shop. Managed to get out my stock sentences which I’d been preparing the night before. And the guy actually understood me. He then spent several minutes showing me various phone packages and circling a few things in a catalogue. By nodding and saying ‘d’accord’ every 10 seconds or so, I think I convinced him that I had understood what he was saying. He then paused and said: “Vous Comprenez?” Maybe not. Still, a damn fine effort on my part. I reward myself with 50 minutes in an internet café reading and absorbing all the weekend’s footy results, followed by the local weather, then the news, and then spend 5mins trying to find the ‘@’ button, and never do. Thank god for copy and paste. All concluded with a bout of sneezing and recycling the same tissue for the 3rd time.