Hey Mr. Postman

I had only been living in France a week and I could only say "bonjour" and "au revoir".  I was "working from home" due to a small issue with my work visa so I didn't need to know much anyway.

While I was typing away at my computer, I heard it; the distinctive buzzing of the building's main door.

Since I didn't know anyone in France, I decided to ignore the buzzing in hopes that whoever it was would go away. The buzzing became more insistent and so I hesitantly answered the intercom with my confident "bonjour".

BIG MISTAKE!

Whoever it was started going off in French!

Excusez-moi!?

I buzzed this person in and opened the door to our apartment, waiting patiently. Except that after five minutes no one showed up.

Then the buzzing began AGAIN! What in the world was going on?

I closed the door and headed down the elevator to see who was actually ringing.

That's when I saw him. The postman with a registered letter. He started talking and talking; I just smiled and nodded. From his expression I gathered that he wanted some sort of response but I had nothing to offer. After what seemed like an eternity he finally handed the pen and clipboard over so that I could sign. And then I REALLY screwed up!

I signed where I should have printed my name!

Quelle horror!

The way the postman reacted you would have thought I killed his mother! He raised his voice, hands were flying and my eyes were welling up with tears.

I finally got it right, he handed me my letter and we were both on our way.

I was shaken up the entire afternoon . When Cornel finally came home, I started crying as I recounted my encounter with "La Poste".

It took months before I found the nerve to respond to the buzzer. I won't even tell you how long it took me to answer the phone!


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15 comments:

Kim said...

True culture shock for sure! It must have been so lonely those first several months.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Oh no! I can see where that would've been so overwhelming. The postman sounds like a bully!

Susan said...

Oh no!
I imagine your french must be getting much better?

Adrienne said...

HAHAHAHA! OH MY GOODNESS, take me back! I'll never forget the first phone call I had to make - to a plumber of all things. And my 'harvard-grad-never-failed-at- anything-he-ever-did" husband tells an absolutely hilarious story of being yelled at by two old ladies in a bakery cause he had the wrong change for his baguette and said "un" instead of "une"...oh my word - I can picture the flailing arms of that postman!!

Heidi said...

Oh poor thing that sounds horrible. I'm still amazed the times I see questionmarks in peoples eyes when I speak and I do speak Danish although with an Norwegian twang.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I would have had no idea what to do.

Stasha said...

Oh dear... I still don't answer my door. It mostly has to do with me wearing the same PJ's all the time...

Natalie said...

I am the same way about the door...and I'm sorry he made you feel bad!

Emmy said...

Sounds like he went a little postal on you. Sorry couldn't resist :)

I don't know how you do it, I think I would be scared for a very long time

Kiddothings said...

Oh gosh, what an unpleasant experience. It's so difficult being in a foreign country where you can't speak the language isn't it?

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

Ah! I can't imagine living in a foreign country where you are still learning the language.

It must feel good to be more at ease now.

Sara Louise said...

My postman is super cool and we have a little chat everyday. He shouts, "Sara, Sara!" outside my window. I am incredibly thankful for his kindness and patience.
And I'm going to admit to something... I only answer the phone about half the time, (no friends ever call on the landline) so it all depends on my mood and whether I'm feeling confident that day or not.

Mark said...

That brought back a nightmare for me. I once answered the door at Fred's place in France and it was a Fireman selling calendars to raise money. He was nice enough but I had no idea what he wanted. I never answered that door again.
Great post!
m.

Shellsea said...

The little things you never think of! Thanks for sharing. Does your office all speak English?

Shellsea said...

The little things you never think of! Thanks for sharing. Does your office all speak English?

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