Saturday, July 09, 2011

Arriving at a New Housesit

A fresh fruit tray for our enjoyment.  These are delicious white peaches, as well as cherries and grapes.
Each housesit is different, but the same.  We are walking into the lives of complete, well except for all those emails back and forth, strangers.  Sometimes, we even speak different languages, as is the case here in Carrieres-sur-Seine.  This wonderful family speaks Russian (the parents' native tongue), French and some English.  They speak far better English than we do French.  So to help the communication, we speak slowly, with no contractions or difficult words.  We have asked, several times, for them to repeat when they are speaking in French.  Sometimes we have not heard, or heard incorrectly.  Many times we have to think about what was said and try to remember what the word means.  They do the same with English, so everyone is very patient.

There are two boys, Sasha, 12, and Andre, 6.  When they arrived home from school, they came running into the livingroom, staring at us.  We were, after all, unique animals who didn't speak their language. Sasha, who is the shy one, said, "Hello!", then promptly gave us hugs!  Andre walked over in front of us and said "Hello!  How are you today?"  I replied, "Very well, and you?"  Of course, he had not learned what the reply should be in English, so he just smiled and gave a hug, too.

Sasha takes to Bill immediately.  I think it is the beard.  Andre gave me the tour of the house, using charades, since of course, I don't know how to speak French.  I finally encouraged him to talk more by using a few simple phrases in French.  I would say a word in English, then ask him how to say it in French.  Sasha takes Bill to see his new computer, then Bill shows him our laptop.  During all this, Andre has decided that since I can't speak French, he will speak to me in Russian.  It has now gone from only understanding a little to total blank looks from me.  His mom, Alissa, comes into the room and starts laughing.  I guess if I going to have to not understand a language, I might as well do two at once!

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