|Not one of my photos....taken from a copy of "L'Independent"...showing Carcassonne's Monoprix on the left.|
The woman was from Perth, Australia, and told me she had arrived in France 2 days ago. My concern for her was that she did not seem to have any grasp of the fact that French people speak a different language.Apparently she was looking to buy a bowl or bucket, so that she could wash some clothes in her “apartment”. She said she had been offered the apartment to rent for a month, but although she had the keys, “ it was up 3 flights of stairs and came with no information” and she could not work “the plugs”…..and had failed to find a way to wash any clothes. ( Electric plugs ? plugs in the sink ?.....I wish I had asked her what she meant )
It was clear she did not understand that a different language was being spoken around her. I saw her speak in louder and louder English to people around her, who shrugged without comprehension. The checkout assistant did not understand or respond to her question about whether the shop would be open the next day ( it will be 1st May, International Labour Day, so it will be closed). When her question was clearly not understood and ignored, the Perth woman merely repeated it…again, more loudly, looked at me and shrugged.I told her the shop would be closed, and told her the French for it, but there did not seem to be any flicker of understanding that there was such a thing as another language to English.
The lady from Perth looked as if she was in her late 70s, possibly older….she was alone, had rented an apartment for a month in a country on the other side of the world. I think she is probably wonderful, she is obviously adventurous, courageous and brave. However, I do not know how she is going to manage. Apparently I was the first person who had spoken to her since she arrived.We had just popped into town to pick up various bits to augment our developing French wardrobe, and had to get back to the car before our parking ticket ran out….. I should have stayed with her, I should have found out more about how she was going to cope…..
As I left her at the checkout, I said that I hoped she had a wonderful stay in France, and she said that she was sure she would……but I have still worried about her all day.