parlez-vous anglais?

Seth and I had an unfortunate mishap tonight. After our very long “nap” we decided to unpack, then walk around our neighborhood to fetch some dinner and wine. We did not want to spend too much, as we have to pay for rent, renters’ insurance, train tickets, cell phones, and groceries within the next couple of days. We walked around for an hour or so and ultimately settled on a small Lebanese place with counter service. The guys behind the counter were surprisingly sympathetic to our lack of French language skills. They told us how they wanted to visit New York City one day to see the Statue of Liberty. (They had never heard of Texas.)

On our way home we stopped in a grocery store to buy a cheap, sustainable Bordeaux blend. We thought it would help us relax and sleep through the night, even though we had already slept six hours. We arrived at the gate to our apartment complex, and—surprise!—the code our landlord gave us did not work. We looked for a pay phone to call Chuck (our landlord), but the phone we found only accepted calling cards. After lots of pacing and panicking, I suggested we walk back to the apartment and speak to someone at the brasserie downstairs. Lucky for us, one of the customers spoke English and provided us with the code. Rejoice!

The locks to these old buildings are very tricky. Seth and I have three keys in our possession: a four-pronged key (which opens our building), a regular-looking key (which unlocks our unit), and a skeleton key (which opens the door to our unit). Unlike American locks, the French ones don’t unlock by simply turning the key clockwise or counter-clockwise. They require multiple turns in different directions. Of course, Seth and I were standing outside our apartment unit for five minutes, looking like dumb Americans, trying to unlock and open our door.

I think the wine is well deserved.


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