No doubt you have been reading and hearing about the floods of epic proportions in France. The Louvre and Orsay museums have been closed so that their priceless artworks can be moved to safety.
Out in the country where we live, roads and fields are flooded and animals are standing in water half-way up their legs. Many of the little roads near our house are closed with gendarmes standing in the middle of les petites rues explaining how we could get from our front door — in our case it involves tramping through knee-high grass that is too wet to cut (the tractor just plain stopped and refused to move) — to the grocery store for example.
Since you are probably au courant regarding this story, I thought instead I would share three small “bright spot” occurrences from my little world.
(Please understand, I am not making light of the situation and the suffering many people are experiencing throughout the country.)
On a lighter note and in order of their adorableness, Three Little Things:
1.) Today an ébéniste (someone who makes or refinishes furniture, considered an art in France) came to our house to look at two tables we need to have refinished and two small pieces of furniture that must be repaired.
He asked me — my accent once again — if I were English. I said, “No, American,” whereupon he said, “I love Americans; I wish I had been born American.”
After a series of compliments on the United States, which made me teary, he asked the inevitable question that everyone poses the minute they discover I’m American.
“So, what do you think of Trump?”
2.) I’ve told you, I don’t know how many times, how much I love the market where we buy our fruits, vegetables, cheeses and fish. Yesterday I was looking for shallots and onions to put around the roast I plan on cooking this weekend.
As I was looking over the vast array of different types of onions, one of my friends who works at the market asked me what I was cooking. I told him and he said, “You don’t want those onions; you want spring onions. They are so much sweeter and delicate. You can buy the ones you’re looking at in the winter when you don’t have the choices you have in the spring and summer.”
He then selected these beautiful spring onions for me, but not before demonstrating that the skin slips off in the fingers and for best results, he explained, I shouldn’t cut the onions in half or in pieces, but instead cut them down the middle, but not enough to sever them.
3.) The GPS in my car, this story is less adorable. In fact it is downright annoying. The thing doesn’t understand my accent.
I say, for example: “Paris, 257 rue du Faubourg Saint- Honoré.” Then I wait. After several seconds, which I attribute to her trying to figure out what I said, she replies, “Destination, s’il vous plait.” Then I repeat and she repeats her response, over and over and over.
At that moment I think, OK, maybe that’s too complicated and she has a legitimate reason not to understand. Out of pure frustration I say, “Paris, 2 Champs-Elysée.” And, yes I do know how to perfectly pronounce Champs-Elysée and of course I don’t pronounce the “s” in Paris, Paree. . . Same response, “Destination, s’il vous plait!”
At this point I’m wild and ask My-Reason-For-Living-In-France to speak to the witch. He does and she replies. “Navigation en route.”
I was waiting for her to say what a pleasure it was speaking with him.