One day I was feeling especially “French” and decided to order a pizza for my son Andrew via telephone. Speaking a foreign language face to face with a native speaker is difficult enough — but at least you have intonation and hand signals to help you out if you run into trouble. When you are speaking over the phone you remove any advantages.

I called the pizza parlor and ordered a Margherita Pizza in my best French. The person on the line seemed to be protesting, but I did not understand enough French to understand what they were saying — so I assumed they were telling me the price of the pizza and when it would be ready for pick-up. I waited about 15 minutes, then loaded Andrew into the car and headed to the pizza parlor. When I arrived I asked for my pre-ordered pizza but everyone looked puzzled.

I explained that I had called in advance and ordered it. An English speaking customer explained this to the shop owner but they insisted that they had not received a call from me. I quickly realized that I had dialed the wrong telephone number and I probably called a little old woman who’d been trying to tell me that her home wasn’t the pizza parlor.!!!


About the fourth day of our trip to France, I was still having trouble with getting Andrew to eat French food. Somewhere in his mind he decided that it wasn’t good and he was refusing to try anything new. We arrived home one evening and when we got off the bus on our street, we could smell the aroma of delicious pizza baking. Andrew looked at me with a wide grin and said “that’s pizza.” About one block later we found the source. It was a small kiosk manned by a French man making one pizza at a time. He quickly realized that Andrew and I spoke English and to our delight he could speak English as well.

The pizza kiosk became one of Andrew’s favorite spots.

When Andrew came home one Friday with homework, I was dumbfounded. It was a page of french sounds and words. There was also a portion where he had to match a picture with it’s corresponding name (french name). I couldn’t help him with this work. I had an idea.

I grabbed the homework and took Andrew by the hand and off we went to ask our Pizzaman for assistance. As our pizza order baked, he patiently reviewed Andrews’s homework. Teaching both Andrew and me the french words and sounds.


I was staying at my Friend Rowena’s house but her heat wasn’t working. Our friend Sonja arranged for a repair man to come to the house.

As is custom in France, the repair man and his assistant (neither spoke English) were taking off for the lunch break. The man tried to explain to me what time he would return. He said “quatorze heure.” I didn’t really know the word quatorze but it sounded like quatre — which means 4. I assumed he would return at 4:00pm. France recognized what we American’s consider military time. What he meant was 14:00, which is 2:00pm. Oooppps. He arrived back at the house at 2:00pm, I did not arrive to give him access to the house until 4:00pm. CAN WE ALL JUST GET ALONG AND SYNCRONIZE OUR CLOCKS!!! LOL.


In my early days of driving here in France. My car would often stall. Trying to get out of a security gate was always a challenge because it would close before I could get the car through it.

I decided to go grocery shopping in a supermarket, close to the center of a busy city. When I pulled my car into the parking lot, the lever opened automatically, but I did not receive a ticket. I pulled into the lot then the gate descended behind me. I looked back at the security device and thought “how am I going to get out of here???”

I parked the car then walked back to the entrance. There was a sign, so I decided to read it. I needed to know how I was going to exit this parking lot when I finished my shopping. I walked up to the sign, then realized that it was totally in French. DARN!!!!! There was only one word I recognized. It was the world “Code.” But did code in French mean the same thing it means in English. I wasn’t sure.

I decided that my only recourse would be to finish my shopping, pack the car then wait for another shopper to exit the lot and quickly follow them out without the lever having a chance to come down and bang my the car.

Throughout my shopping I was concerned about how I was going to exit the parking lot. I finished my shopping and was checking out and bagging my groceries, when the cashier tapped my shoulder and in broken English asked if I drove to the supermarket. I said “Qui” and she pointed to the bottom of my receipt which had the code I needed to use to exit the parking lot.


One day while I was driving back from an excursion to a small French market, a barking dog drew my attention. I looked in the direction of the barking and saw a gate opening and a car driving through the gate. Even in the distance I could tell that it was a man driving– possibly driving home from work. As he parked and got out of his car, his trusty dog ran up to greet him. This seemed normal to me until the dog was joined by two horses. All three animals were waiting their turn to be petted by the man.
I thought that was delightful.