dialing up a foreign language

I always get nervous when I know I need to make a phone call to a business here. Even if I know that the person on the other end speaks English. Because it seems rude to dial them up and instantly speak English. So I fret and wring my hands for a while before finally dialing, then I try to stumble through the conversation in French until the person on the other end tells me (or begs me) to go ahead and speak English.

I’ve been silently pacing back and forth (mentally) all day because I knew I faced just such a call today. We chose an absolutely lovely looking bed and breakfast for our Easter weekend in Provence. The woman who owns it sent me an email explaining some crazy secret code she uses for emailing my credit card number for the deposit. But I couldn’t make sense of it (a frequent problem when someone attempts to explain something in a language that isn’t their first… I know because I’m usually on the delivering end). So I knew I needed to call her in order to make sure the room didn’t go to someone else. And family-sized rooms in Provence seem hard to come by.

Finally, I had to admit to myself that I do know how to dial another place in France… Kaitlyn and her friend who is over playing are plenty busy… I’m out of excuses. So I called. The woman was very nice. She put up with my French until we got to the actual reading off of my credit card number. (Well, I actually did say “credit card” in English because I drew a blank on what to say in French.) She told me to read her the number in English. It was probably the one part of the whole conversation I stood the best chance of being able to do in French.

That’s ok. She was so very nice about it. I think she’s going to be an excellent hostess. I’m really looking forward to our trip. We’ve only lived less than 2 hours from Provence for nearly a year and a half now. It’s about time we went to see what all the fuss is about.

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