May 6, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 11:15 am
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I’m heading off to visit family in Norway in a few hours and as expected it’s messing with my focus. I’m stuck in a pile of papers and corrections, writing absolutely nothing (except emails to my mom trying to figure out what type of cognac she wants me to buy for her at the airport) so I thought this would be a good opportunity for a more personal post.

I’m a Norwegian ex pat, writing fiction in English from Montreal. This means I’m steeped in the Anglo-French debate without even being a so-called Anglophone. The lines are drawn through the city and the literary community and I’m on the wrong side of it (apparently). I’ve tried to remedy this by learning French through osmosis. It’s not going great. Before I moved here I believed I had a penchant for languages. Turns out, I don’t. But where other people might sway from their path of bumbling out French sentences hoping they make sense and instead pay for classes, I keep on, determined that one day I’ll get it right. I think the Francophones give me points for trying, and even if they don’t, at least I provide much needed comic relief on rainy days. Let me give you some examples:

Number 1: The nascent novelist enters the SAQ to buy wine
Clerk: “Bonjour, madam!”
Me: “Bonjour, ca va?”
Clerk: “Ca va bien! Vous cherchez quelque chose en particulier?”
Me: “Ma oui. Je suis en vin blanc.”
*slow clap*

Number 2: The nascent novelist shows up for her physio appointment
Receptionist: “Salut, ca va?”
Me: “Ca va bien, et tou?”
Receptionist: “Ca va bien!”
Me: “Je suis ici pour [name of physio therapist].”
Receptionist: “Votre nom?”
Me: “Dis heurs!”
Receptionist: “Um, votre nom?”
Me: *blank stare*
*awkward silence*
Nice lady in line behind me: “Um, what’s your name, dear?”

But one day, I tell you, one glorious day I’ll understand what they’re saying!


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