Little Man and I flew across country several weeks ago. Because our flight got in too late to pick up our rental car, we had to spend the night at a hotel before going on to our destination. In the morning, we decided to take advantage of the free breakfast, as did most of the other 285 guests.
As the mobs of people parted like the Red Sea, I dove in and grabbed a bagel and egg. Poor Little Man was so overwhelmed by the crowds that he barely peeled himself off the wall to scramble between a family headed for the beach, and a man late for his business meeting, to wind up with a bowl of frosted flakes. After we managed to get some juice, we were looking around at all the tables and saw a group getting up. Making like Flo Jo, I sprinted for the table, arriving at the same moment as a couple with a look of confusion on their faces. Did they get the table? Was it ours? Who got there first?
Well, it was a table for four, and two of us plus two of them made four. I suggested that we share the table. What I soon discovered, was the woman I was talking to barely understood English. She was Québécois. With my obvious arm gestures and the little English the woman did understand, it was decided: we would share the table.
After a while, I got up the nerve to try out a few words here and there. My rustier than rusty French started to come back to life. Bonjour. They were visiting to shop and go to the beach, and to eat lobster. We were in town to celebrate the life of my father, who had died. We spoke en Francais and spoke en Anglais. My tenses and vocabulary were abysmal, but the points got across. Even without French toast or Belgian waffles, it was an international breakfast. And how lovely it was that with each of us stretching ourselves to use the unfamiliar language, we were able to communicate.
And how fun it was to see the look of confusion and amazement on Little Man’s face as the woman and I chatted bilingually. He had no idea that I knew any French other than Bonjour!