Sunday, September 1, 2013

Jet Lag and Social Etiquette

I am suffering from some intensely severe Jet Lag. Emily and I went through some pretty hellacious shenanigans en route to Chambery. Here is some picture documentation of this fact. 

Emily and I before our plane and train rides from hell: 

Some crazy stuff happened to our flights, but someone was looking out for us, because we systematically dodged every bullet. The only sad part was that neither of us were able to sleep on the plane. 

As I write this, I have been awake for more than 30 hours, but my exhaustion does not happen to currently be at the top of my worry list. 

Jocelyne met me at the train station with a sign right when I got off of my platform. I was really tired and felt horrendous, but I put on a shiny face and kissed her once on each cheek, as etiquette calls. 

She very kindly loaded my suitcases into her car and drove me to our apartment where we did our best to carry my fifty pound suitcase up four flights of stairs. At the top, she showed me around and to my room, and then we sat down in the kitchen for some seltzer water and a chat. 

Here is where the interesting part began. Jocelyne, while wonderful, speaks little to no English. Obviously, this is to be expected, as I am here to study and practice French. However, I was really blindsided by the fact that I couldn't ask her how to say something in French or that my descriptions of things didn't make since to her. 

For example, I asked her about a specific ATM that I needed, but I didn't know the word for ATM in French and apparently, it isn't just ATM! So, I tried to describe it in French and essentially said something like "a machine that dispenses money." It turns out that "laisse tombé" is my new favorite French phrase which means "nevermind," since, thus far, I haven't had the energy or the need to continue on when I cannot get my point across. 

When I felt a pause in conversation, I told Jocelyne that I was going to call my family and put all of my things away. As I was only able to take 50lbs worth of stuff, it was pretty easy to put all of my things away in a matter of minutes. Then I went out onto my balcony to look at the mountains while I called my family.

Since I arrived on a Sunday, when nothing is open, Jocelyne was nice enough to cook me dinner. However, this has lead me to the current dilemma which I am confronting now.

Jocelyne told me dinner would be served around 7 or 8, so I decided to wake up from my brief nap around 6:00. I heard Jocelyne rustling in the kitchen, so I went in to see what was going on. I was able to muster up enough cognitive functioning to hold a brief conversation, and she showed me a few other things around the house while some bread was baking. 

The dilemma here is, should I have stayed in the kitchen and chatted with her while she cooked, or give her privacy? In America, I would certainly sit in the kitchen and chat, but here, I'm not quite sure. It also seems that the language barrier is sort of hindering my ability to read any social cues she may be giving off (though, that may also be a combination of hunger and lack of sleep). 

After shuffling in and out of the kitchen and asking a few questions, I opted to sit at my desk and compose this post. Hopefully, I did enough to please her either way! 

On the whole, the apartment is quaint and cozy and Jocelyne is warm and welcoming. I have nothing to complain about, thus far. However, it has only been a few hours and I'm already beginning to feel overwhelmingly immersed in the language. I also don't think it has really hit me that I wont be back in Indiana any time soon. Stay tuned for more riveting tales about my crippling fears and... 

Let the Shenanigans Commence! 



  1. I definitely got hit in the face with feels after this post...

    1. Well, it will be like you're here with me because I have to seriously restrain myself from posting every five minutes. Something new happens every five milliseconds! But I'm sure that will subside soon!