Today, we were going to take Jean-Michel’s grandchilden for a cruise on the canal but little six-year old Jean wasn’t feeling well…..so Caryl and nine-year old Charlotte were our only passengers.
Charlotte loved the boat ride. We went through one lock, turned around and went through it again…..then we cruised down to Le Somail. Charlotte knows a few English words and tolerated our abysmal French. During a short discourse, she looked up and, with a sweet smile, said, “Vous ne parlez pas français et je ne parle pas anglais, mais c’est seulement un petit problème”….. “You don’t speak French and I don’t speak English, but it is just a little problem.”
While watching Charlotte talk, Craig came to the realization that to really speak French, your mouth needs to move in a way that our American mouths are not trained to do. We might be able to recreate a word syllable by syllable, but put all those syllables together and the end result bears scant resemblence to the word we’re struggling to say. That might explain why we can more easily understand French as spoken by Brits. C’est la vie.
After our boat ride, we joined Caryl, Jean-Michel and the grandkids for lunch at their beach-house in Gruissan. Jean-Michel is struggling to learn English as much as we’re struggling to learn French so conversation was periodically halted while Caryl translated to one or the other language. She must have been enhausted at the end of the day!
After lunch, while the children napped, Craig and I took a walk along the beach. I had read that topless sunbathing was passé…..no longer in fashion with younger French women……so I was surprised to see a number of bare breasts as we ambled along. Craig was both surprised and delighted. It reminded me of our first trip to France…..and his first encounter with topless sunbathing. As we walked to our beach chairs in Nice on that long-ago day, Craig was, to put it nicely, gawking. When I told him to stop staring, his response was, “I’m not staring, I’m desensitizing myself.”
“Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men” ~ Frank “Kin” Hubbard