Friday, September 6, 2013

Life Lessons from Christophe

Day Three of Blogtember: Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.

My dad is French. He has lived in the U.S. for the past twenty-two years, give or take, and he's pretty much assimilated to America.... football hysteria, workaholic hours, a love of barbecuing and pruning the garden on the weekend, boxer bathing suits (thank God). America suits him, really, and I can't imagine him ever moving back to France permanently (especially since my step-mom is American). 



Frankly, I often forget he's French, and I never noticed his accent until my friends pointed it out to me. We have always spoken English together, from as early as I can remember. I attribute this to being born in France so my parents spoke to me in English at home and I learned French out in the Frenchy world (and with my grandparents). Our households have always been English-speaking (with my mom, dad, and stepparents). It almost feels strange speaking French with him now, and I always rebelled against his efforts when I was younger. Especially because he loves to correct my grammar, as the Frenchies do.

The only other time I am really struck by my dad's French-ness is when we are in the presence of my grandparents, who live in France and live to criticize the U.S., particularly its food and strip malls. "Kim, try the broccoli... you've never had French broccoli, you will like it."

Take it or leave it... its just the French way ;)

Priceless memories from teenage years: Life lessons from Christophe, often French proverbs translated directly and literally into English. (Also: texts written in T9 that had absolutely no meaning whatsoever.) (Also: uncomfortably blunt dating advice given to a very awkward teenage girl.) (Also: French words pronounced with an American accent.... just in case they in exist in English as well?!)

Take for example, whilst driving somewhere with no escape in sight:

"You must not... give away... sell the... hide, er, skin...? of the bear before slaying it."

(Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tué.)


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Can you figure it out? Well, in English we'd probably stick to the much less violent saying "Don't count your chickens before they hatch." Good advice, when bear killing isn't distracting me from the actual meaning of this phrase.

There were many even more obscure proverbs he loved to translate... but I am blanking at the moment. I will have to come back with Part II. Just take my word that some just did. not. work. in English, but always provided a good chuckle ;)

P.S. Second most memorable advice (/slightly disturbing): "The key to a good kiss is in the tongue."
P.P.S. Why were these nuggets of wisdom always imparted on me in the car? With no escape...?


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