My Top Three Pet Peeves

This certainly isn’t a topic I’d usually write about, by why not give it a go?

Let’s start with the lowest first, shall we?

  1. People clipping their nails in public.

I’ve never understood how people can do this. I understand wanting to even them out and trim them, but why not wait until you’re home? Okay, I know this one is a little ridiculous, but I hate the sound of it. I don’t know why, but I do. The sharp clicking and snapping that occurs as the metal pinches through the keratin makes me gag. I don’t even like hearing the sound when I’m clipping my own nails, and I can handle it far better than when I can hear others doing so. I definitely know how it feels to break a nail and to want to fix it, but you can use a file for that and shorten the others when you return to you abode. Am I right?

  1. Not following the enter and exit signs for stores and the like.

Seriously? They are clearly labeled. Very clearly labeled. Unless it’s the Walmart Neighborhood Market across the street from where I’ve been staying…then one door is marked “Entrance” with the small red “Do Not Enter” sign below it, and the other is marked “Exit” with the small green “Enter” sign underneath it. When it’s raining or you’re in a giant hurry, it can be really tempting to go in through the exit if it’s closest, but taking one or two seconds longer to enter won’t make that much of a difference. Plus, it makes it difficult for those who are (italics) following directions to get through the doors. Yet again, this is fairly silly, but there are stickers and signs everywhere.

  1. “Learn English!”

This is by far my biggest pet peeve, especially when these words are uttered by travellers. I’ve met countless Americans who only speak English that think anyone and everyone in the world should as well. When I hear people say, “This is America! Speak English!” it breaks my heart. Many of the people who are recipients of such verbal abuse do speak English, sometimes as their first language, but they are communicating with others who may not or prefer not to speak English. But also, if just going on holiday or on a brief business trip, one might not want to or be able to fully learn a new language.

When I was returning from my first stay in France, Karissa and I were in the waiting area near our gate at the Montreal airport, and we heard a group of people talking. They were clearly American and were speaking loudly about the announcements coming over the PA system.

First man: “What is that? Is that two languages?”
Woman: “I think it’s Spanish.”
First man: “No, I think it’s Italian.”
Second man: “Why on Earth would they do that?”
First man: “Don’t they realize we’re in the US of A??”
Woman: “Apparently not.”
Second man: nearly yelling “Why won’t everyone just speak English?!”

Clearly, they didn’t know we were in Canada. And even though they’d been on our flight from France, they couldn’t recognise the French language in the least bit. They continued complaining until we were boarding our flight to Chicago.

If these people had put any thought into what they were claiming (even if we hadn’t been in Canada at the time), they would have noticed their blatant hypocrisy. They were complaining about people not learning English while traveling and the like, when they had just spent time in France without learning French. This isn’t something that many Americans think about, specifically those who make these remarks, but it’s true. They wish to force foreigners to speak English, but they are not usually willing to learn the languages that are spoken in the countries to which they are traveling.

I’m on the opposite end of that spectrum, as I’ve gone a little overboard with the amount of languages I study. I’m currently studying French, Spanish, and Italian, and although I can’t speak Spanish or Italian at all, I’m certainly willing to try. I just wish others were as well.

What are your top pet peeves?

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Well, I least I learned something

People always tell horror stories about saying the wrong word in a foreign language and either saying something offensive or sexual. They rally are trying to say something innocent, but the word is mispronounced or the phrase doesn’t mean what the speaker thought. Well, after a few years studying French, I have have finally made that, and I left laughing but embarrassed.

Many people start off making more understandable mistakes like saying “je suis chaud” or “je suis excité.” Both have sexual connotation, but to the person learning French, they mean “I am hot” and “I am excited.” (The correct way to say the first is “J’ai chaud.” For the second, one should continue the sentence and state why he is excited.) However, I seem to have generally skipped these and jumped to one many probably haven’t encountered.

At lunch last Friday, Jacob and I were eating the delicious creations of our incredibly animated and lovable cook Danielle when she asked what we were going to do for the rest of the day. Jacob simply said he would continue sleeping so that he could recover from falling ill, and I listed a couple work assignments before saying that I needed to knit. This led to a conversation about knitting and crocheting in which Danielle learned that I prefer to crochet instead of knit. As the conversation drew to a close, her interest was sparked, and she asked what I am knitting. I told her assuredly I am making a hood for my sister. Or at least that is what I thought I had said, but the wide-eyed expression crossing her face as she tilted her head and leaned slightly forward told me otherwise. “Comment? (What?)” she asked. “Une capote,” I responded without the assurance I had before. She asked again. ” I repeated while making the motion of putting a hood over my head. I was incredibly confused. I had thought she might ask what I was knitting and wanted to be able to tell her, so I had looked up the word earlier in the week using both a translator as well as a dictionary. I didn’t see how the word could be so wrong. Danielle waved her hands gently in front of her, saying “Non, non, non, ça, c’est pour les hommes. C’est un préservatif masculin. (No, no, no, that’s for men. That’s a condom.)”

Apparently it can also mean a cape or the roof of a convertible, but the first thing a French person will think of when they hear the word ” une capote” is a condom. The word I needed was “un capuchon.” You can take this as the embarrassing story it is or form one of many different lessons that can be found in it. I’ll largely just look back on this story and think of the time I learned the French version of “a rubber” after telling someone that I am making one for my sister.

If you have any embarrassing language stories, please tell them in the comments below.

For those of you interested:
I have officially raised 2575 for my trip! Thank you all so much for your help!
I do still have quite a bit to raise.
If you would like, please visit my fundraising page for more details about my stay in France and about how to donate to my internship funds.

No Idea

I have no idea what I am doing.
I never really have; I’m just one of those people that kind of goes with the flow and has far too many interests and can’t make up her mind.

All of this terrifies me. I’m graduating from college in less than six months, and I have no idea what I’m going to do. I want to continue on to graduate school, but I also want to work as an editor, move to France, move to England, crochet, write, play music, become a blogger/Youtuber, go to culinary school, be an artist, and design menswear, and those things are only half of what pops into my mind when I think about my desires for my future for a couple of seconds.
I’ve always had so many interests that I can’t count them, but as I approach the real world, the shocking reality that I cannot do every single one of these things becomes clearer and clearer. I need to make some rather drastic changes in my life, including deciding what desires I want more than others. However, I hate stopping to think about it all because it becomes incredibly overwhelming quite quickly.

I’ve been feeling rather inspired lately, but I don’t know what to do. I know I want to create, but I never know what to make or write or play when I’m feeling more inspired and become overwhelmed with the wonderful sense of awe that inspiration brings and with the dread that fills my mind upon realising that I have no idea what work on.

Today, I could tell that my inspiration was leaning most toward languages, so I spent about two hours studying, half an hour reading aloud in, and half an hour listening to a book in French. Even though, sometimes, I can feel overwhelmed by languages, I’ve never found myself actually being tired of learning them or about them, which is brilliant. However, I don’t know enough about any language to pursue a career in it. My goal for languages throughout my life is to become fluent in French and learn at least basic Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, and Portuguese. Aside from this goal and longing to live in France for a spell and the UK for most of my life, I don’t have any clue what I’m going to do, or where I’m going to do it. I know after this semester I will probably have a much better understanding of some of the things which I am interested in doing and my capabilities in those areas, but I wish I knew more about my life now. Since I only know certain areas of interest and desires, I will try to focus on those and try to hone my skills so that, when January comes, I will enter the real world and be unstoppable. Well, at least I’ll be unstoppable from pursuing my dreams and making several mistakes and a few remarkable discoveries about myself along the way.

Fernweh

Today a good friend of mine returned to where we first met. She technically landed tomorrow morning in France. As stated in my last post, I always want to go back to Normandy, a place I call home, but getting a message from her this afternoon saying she had arrived to the very home we lived in last year is really difficult. It had been a goal of mine to return this summer as well, but things just didn’t work out. All day, before I even got her message saying she had arrived, I have been dwelling on thoughts of Normandy and my French family and friends. I long to return so badly… I want to be back in France, thrown into the culture and language that fascinate me so. I want to see the people I met while there and spend hours talking with them. I want to walk along the beach and eat crêpes. I want to have fresh baguette sandwiches with butter, meat, and lettuce. I want to be able to wake up and see the only place that I have truly and completely considered home. But that probably won’t happen soon, and it breaks my heart.