Regarding the progress I’m making here, I’m always surprised by the things that delight me.
In my first week I really needed eye drops. I’d visited several pharmacies (there’s no shortage in France) and hadn’t even seen an ‘eye’ section, let alone eye drops. Eventually I conceded – I would have to talk to someone. I went to a pharmacy near my hotel and, after the initial greetings, the conversation went like this:
“I need something for my eyes. They are . . .” (at this point I realised that I’d forgotten the word for ‘dry’) “thirsty?”
“Oh, you want artificial tears.”
“Yes, that’s it”
“Do you wear contact lenses?”
“Okay, this is what you want,” she handed me a box, no more questions asked.
I was also unreasonably chuffed when I first recharged my French sim card. You can’t seem to do it online here, so I had to deal with the recorded voice instructing me in French. Admittedly, I did need to listen to everything twice, but I now have credit! (As an aside – I also know how to check my messages.)
Another proud moment (though not language related) happened on the day I signed my work contract. I was travelling from language school to work drinks (I know – work drinks before I’ve started working – how Australian am I?) and my Navigo pass wouldn’t work at the metro station. I swiped it again, and a red cross appeared instead of a green arrow. I grumbled in frustration – this was a weekly ticket and there were five more days before it expired!
I swiped it again and a message came up: already validated. So I couldn’t validate my pass because it had already been validated, and because I couldn’t validate it, the gates wouldn’t open. And there was no information desk in sight.
So I did something I’ve only ever seen teenage boys do here.
I jumped over the gate.
The proud moment? I jumped over on my first try, without tripping over and falling flat on my face. I also did it in a skirt and, although I don’t think I flashed anyone (don’t worry dad), I was wearing nice underwear.
. . . I might need to determine a new way to measure my progress.