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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jour de la Prise de la Bastille


From: Meghan McCloskey

To: All Residents @ Luxury Condo

Subject: Bastille Day Celebration


1:05 p.m.


Dear Residents,

In celebration of Bastille Day, our restaurant is hosting a party in the Public Atrium on Tuesday, July 14 from 5 to 9 p.m. Enjoy a glass of complimentary wine, beer, hors d'œuvres and festive desserts, and cut loose to live music while celebrating France’s national holiday. We hope you can join the fête!


Au revoir et à demain,

Meghan



From: Stacey Forsberg

To: Meghan McCloskey @ Luxury Condo

Subject: RE: Bastille Day Celebration


1:10 p.m.


Merci bien, Mademoiselle Meghan. C’est trop gentile et une bonne idée en plus! On s’y voit là bas.


A demain,

Stacey



From: John Lancaster

To: Meghan McCloskey @ Luxury Condo

Subject: RE: Bastille Day Celebration


1:12 p.m.


Tres bien, Mme. McCloskey. Please ensure they have very large glasses.


A bientôt,

John



From: Richard Schult

To: Meghan McCloskey @ Luxury Condo

Subject: RE: Bastille Day Celebration


1:20 p.m.


Bonjour Meghan,

Ce sera amusant! Je vous remercie!


Cordialement,

Richard Schult



From: Alice Lang

To: Meghan McCloskey @ Luxury Condo

Subject: RE: Bastille Day Celebration


1:32 p.m.


Mme. McCloskey,

Voulez-vous nous rejoindre? J'ai toujours voulu avoir une partie dans cette chambre. Nourriture du restaurant est très savoureux. Je n'ai jamais mangé là avant, mais je suis impatient d'essayer la nourriture.


Bonne journée,

Alice



By 2:30 p.m., I wanted to crack my skull open trying to decode these emails. Why’d I insist on adding the French translation for “goodbye and see you tomorrow” in a message to 400 people? I should’ve known most of them owned a second home in France and were fluent. Hello? It’s a cute sign-off, not an invitation to converse in the foreign tongue. Newsflash: I don't speak a lick of it.

The best part? It turned out the “complimentary” wine, beer and hors d'œuvres weren’t complimentary. So when I arrived at the fête, the guests weren’t just talking to me en français – from what I gathered they were scolding me. And I had no idea what they were saying.

Naturally my friends stood near the bar. I dodged several angry faces on my walk toward their circle, simultaneously grabbing a plastic cup full of very expensive wine and guzzling it. From the corner of my eye, I saw the sommelier ogle me in disgust. His face turned red. Then he approached me, surely to chew me out for my inelegant display – in French.

To be continued…


Note: Names, places, and events have been altered. Photo: SF Chronicle


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  1. I am reading this at work and showed my co-workers here in Paris... we all got a good laugh out of it. Next time you need some translations from français to anglais, let me know! :)

    Kim

    And, I would have guzzled the expensive wine as well

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