- This is in answer to:
- If you had to live in a large city for a year, which would you pick? See all answers
- March 16, 2012 by moeb
- Communication and respect.
At the present, there are a number of cities in other countries I would love the opportunity to live in for a year. Right now my favourite is Paris. I think life there for a year would be wonderful. If only to find out the truly great places to eat and to be able to walk those streets with the sense of possession of a resident.
I'm currently in a city that is a tourist mecca; I know there is a huge difference between visiting and living here as I've done both.
It would give me a chance to improve my French. There is never a downside to improving ability in another language. It can be a challenge but it is more rewarding to communicate on a common ground than to impose your language on someone else.
Yes, the majority of Parisians speak sufficient English to be better at speaking my language than I am at theirs but just knowing I've tried, it makes the air warmer.
On those few times I've been in France or Quebec, even stumbling along in Franglaise creates a bond with the other person. It shows a willingness, a respect and, usually, results in respect returned.
I remember being in Quebec City and trying to find, *hangs head in shame*, a Starbucks. There was a young woman working at some archeological excavation just outside the Hotel Frontenac. I asked if she spoke Anglais. Non. I asked if there was une Starbucks ici ou pres di ici? (yes, way bad grammar). Non. So, in Franglais I asked what she was digging. Une jardin...pour cooking...and so on, we managed to use what little we knew of each other's language to learn and to be impressed about this petite moment of history d'Quebec et Canada.
I never found a Starbucks, which is just as well. I like Cafe au lait much better and there are few places outside of Quebec where you can find a decent cup.
Of course, if their English is better, they switch but I have never been turned away by a French speaker with a shrug and mime show of not understanding Anglais. I heard some people complain, those who don't even try to say Bon jour, that they get shut down like that frequently. They think the French are snobs but it is more a matter of Gaullic sensitivity.
If you cannot make the effort as a guest in their country to respect their language and ways, then you are the snob. Quelles boobs.