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02 November 2009


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Dear Corey,
Learning French is quite a feat...you sure have done well! How is the little "5" year old now? She probably remembers you with great love!
Thanks for the pictures and the story...you are such a good storyteller!

Oh how I can relate! Years ago when I lived in Germany and was learning German, I kept getting words confused, such as jungfrau and junge frau. One means virgin and the other means young woman. But I quickly learned that the "her" in "herren" didn't mean that it was headed into the women's room.


Oooh la la
I love your stories
I love you ♥

Hi Corey, seems you were in my area lately,i mean you took a picture from the LOFT in Montmartre, and several others in the neighbourhood. So we might have crossed,i live at the end of the street ( LOFT, LOL ) and i love your blog! I once made a mistake that left friends hilarious, i said GLANDES LACRYMOGENES instaid of GLANDES LACRYMALES.
I'm Dutch but live in Paris for more than 40 years and don't want to loose my accent and still continue to make silly faults. Who cares after all? Love from LA BUTTE, Will

I'm sure you have a treasure trove of funny stories (well funny now, anyway).

I love it...they say you learn a language best when you are in love with someone who does not know yours!

Speaking of embarrassing stories... my mother-in-law was teaching me how to survive our first night away from her to translate and speak for us... she taught me how to say I do not speak French (she lives near limoges) I was practicing it with her and she said I had it...so off goes husband and I on our own... we decide to have a picnic and go to a grocery store pick up bread, drink, and a variety little cheeses. We go to check out making sure we can see the amount on the register so we can hand the right money. We are feeling so confident, but the cashier starts yelling at me holding a cheese in her hand. I have no idea what she is saying, the line is getting bigger, everyone is staring at us, so cleverly I think, I will say I do not speak French... "je m'apelle Frances" aka my name is french! She tossed her hands up and went to the cheese section to get the bar code that she needed to ring up the cheese!

always love your stories!

On my first trip to France I ordered a 'champignon' sandwich and when It arrived was I surprised to find mushrooms instead of ham!!! And this is after 3 years of high school and college french.

Thinking of you and Marburger Farms.

French words ...
An English friend of mine is fluent at French. To me, she's always been...
She told me how she became bilingual :
When she came to France to meet her inlaws, many people told her she had a cute and sexy English accent, alike Jane Birkin or Petula Clark. As she hated both, she fought like mad from then to get rid of it !!!

Just arrived safely home from France and was fascinated by their language. Learned some new words....but it was wonderful to hear English again. Corey you certainly speak French well now!!! The french language is just so beautiful!!!! Thanks Corey!!!!!!

I love this post Corey..I don't speak French, but when in Paris, I was sooo chuffed with myself, I went out at night and ordered dinner, I went shopping and found what I wanted, I shopped at the Markets ..an today, I have just had a wonderful phone call from my good friend Barbara, and we were talking about me learning French..

Love your "French Word" photos..thank you for sharing.

Have you ever read David Sedaris, "Me Talk Pretty One Day"? That story is about how he had to learn French when he moved to France with his partner. It. Is. Hilarious.

Moving to a foreign country and having to learn the language has got to be one of the most lonely and isolating things that a person can experience, IMO.

This post made me homesick for the year I lived in Paris. I remember having to learn all the store words and how amazingly sweet and helpful the store owners were to me....I must have looked so lost and confused. Thanks for sharing. Sorry I missed you this last trip...Maybe Christmas time? I hope your family can make it back out. Your mom looked great when I saw her a few days ago.

Nothing like a five year old to say exactly what they feel! Mom, Dad and I went to Paris when I was in high school. We needed the taxi to speedily take us to the Bateaux pier. We couldn't remember the right words for hurry up. I think the poor driver really thought we were odd when I said "andele andele"(sp?). It helps to speak French in France-not Spanish. We got there in time and the driver definitely earned his good tip.

Sobering, yet delightful. I bought two French books last year, because I wanted to go to Lyon. I so chickened out. I just looked at those books last night and laughed.

French is such a beautiful language. When my husband and I were in France we did learn a few new words. I wish I could have read the menu's better, next time I go I am at least going to learn all the food words.
And shopping of course!

Like your other commenters I have made my gaffes in foreign languages too. I moved to South America in my 20s and learned Spanish, after learning French in high school. The two languages often got mixed.
Now, I'm studying for my degree in French and have made two trips to France where I continue to make mistakes. But I have found the French people to be so gracious when I try to explain in their beautiful language.
I love all your photos of French words.


I just got back from Paris and I sure could have used that book you mentioned. I never did find the candy store I was looking for because I couldn't find the street on the map I had. Well, I guess I'll just have to buy the book and make another trip. :-)
Thanks for the tip, Corey.

Oh yes I can commiserate, having recently returned from France. I took a french class for travelers last year in preparation; so I was a step ahead of my husband but still not so good. My spanish I took as a child would get mixed up with the french. How funny those spanish words would just pop into my head. I did find that the french were very appreciative of our attempts and they would smile. A smile gets you a long way. I do wish now to learn more of the beautiful language.

Love your pictures and stories!

Hi corey,
I am struggling with Michel Thomas cds every day to try and learn more French. My
French is dreadful but at least I feel i am entertaining when I speak if nothing else.
All best

I never heard that cute story about Emeline. Talk about summing it all up! That is very sweet. Hugs.

That is so funny to hear it summed up by such a young child! Perfect!

I commend you for learning it now! My dream is to speak French fluently, and I am taking classes. However, I know it will only come once I emerge myself into France.

We are trying to enroll our little girl in a French School here in the states because we feel giving her the ability to learn and speak different languages is the greatest gift of all.

Fun post. I found out by that I would not starve or go thirsty in France.
I also found out by this post that I could find Objects that Speak :)
Love this story...I feel like this often as I travel through Europe. Interestingly enough I feel most comfortable in France ...and I can always find the bakery there.

gorgeous photos! Where is Emeline now!? You two could have a nice laugh together now! xox

"We are doomed!" - I laughed so hard, my laptop jump up and down my ... well, lap! ;-)

It must have been so hard for you, a full-grown adult, thrown into a new culture, in a country where everybody expected you to know the language.

I moved to Italy and only knew three words in Italian - "Non parlo Italiano" - but at least I went to school, even though for the first three months I came home and had to use my dictionary to translate the homework assignments the teachers had written on the blackboard. I don't remember anymore how I survived that period in my life.

I can sure relate... many years ago we lived in Germany. We traveled to Strasbourg in Alsace where my then 5 year old daughter got lost. When someone asked in french if they could help her she replied in German "Ich spreche English". The salesperson was trying to find an english speaking person to help when I found her. All ended well.

But I can sure relate to embarrassing moments...the time I cooked a beef tongue thinking it was a roast beef..(I slathered it with gravy and my family never noticed) the time none of my kids liked the juice except my youngest who drank the entire bottle after which I read it was a concentrate to be mixed with water. The time I thought I told another mother my daughter could stay for two hours and the mother looked at me puzzled and brought her home in 20 minutes. The time I sent my kids to school on a national holiday I'd never heard of....

But you are right it keeps life interesting. Thanks for the memories

Small children wonderfully explore the world while being misunderstood. Learning foreign languages reminds us daily. Regress to appreciate the small details of life, pourquoi pas?

I happened upon your beautiful blog at the perfect time. My husband and I are moving to Paris for his work in January and I am inspired by you and your love for life. I too, am arriving in Paris with a VERY limited french vocabulary. You inspired me to create my own blog to stay in touch with my family and friends while overseas. Keep up the great work and if you want to check out my blog at www.myfullcup.com and give me some pointers, I would love it!

Hi C - I loved all these pictures but got curious about Hotel des Arts, so, I googled it. Imagine my surprise to find it in San Francisco. So I went to the site. What a fantastic collection of art rooms. I will be putting this place on my dance card, I think.

Emeline's comment, I've re-read it 5 times and it's made me laugh so much every time, even now I'm grinning...but I bet you weren't feeling too happy just then.. Thank you so much for taking me to France,once again, the photos are wonderful. thank you

What has it been like for French Husband when he goes to Willows, USA speaking only French and adjusting to American customs?

I loved the photos and trying to remember my high school French to understand what they said. I remember some words. Also loved the story about Emeline.

You really know how to create little film vignettes with your stories, Corey. I envisioned you and Emeline walking along the streets chatting and then suddenly trying to figure out where you were. She wore a red coat in my mind. You looked great in a camel coat with beret. :)

And don't you think the Valentine building would make an excellent setting for a novel? I do!

Love typo !! Your pictures are divine and inspiring . I love to take pictures of old signs of ols boutiques

What an absolutely brilliant comment from Emeline, so dramatic. She sounds enchanting. Do you keep in touch, I imagine she is quite the young Mademoiselle now ?! Jx

Corey, this trip when I returned to America I felt odd hearing so many people speaking English. I'd worked on my French for the last year and some days didn't have to any English to be understood, just a strange face, motion and a few words. I had been trying so hard to make my mind think of the French word as an object that when I heard the English word I confused myself. Can't imagine what you must have felt like back then when hardly anyone spoke English though.

Hey, I recognize that bar of soap - it's sitting on my counter!

I confess I have not been visiting the blog as I should....I am loving the story of your meeting your husband and France. My daughter Erin just visited her beaus family in Bulgaria...fortunately America is his home and he is a citizen. Bulgaria is NOT France

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