Clivia Wang | Paris, France | Post 4

Clivia Wang | Paris, France | Post 4

And here we are, the last post of the semester. I’ve come a long way. Today, during dinner, the oldest son of my host family came back from Germany — he’s an engineer, working in Munich. My host mom says he talks like a machine gun, but to my surprise, I started following his conversations rather effortlessly: he talked about his work in a job about “simulation,” about his co-worker who made a very bad Power Point, and about his political views on Holland. I understood almost everything. And I couldn’t stop the smile on my face.

Arriving at this stage was not easy. In the first two weeks of my internship I was first extremely intimidated by my boss, because in addition to being Polish, she also speaks French. My listening skills were constrained to being able to only understand colloquial how-are-yous, therefore not at all suitable for actual working environment. Not only unsuitable, as I imagined, but hazardous, too, because there’s a great possibility that I wouldn’t understand what anyone was really talking about. So there I was, standing awkwardly in her office, taking an average of about 2.64 seconds to respond, until she finally broke out and said in French, “Clivia, I don’t think you really understand what I am saying.” I was a million degrees. I murmured, si, so faintly I kind of hope she didn’t hear me, although I was furious inside. She then told me to “go to that room and show me.” I felt myself burning with fire to prove that I am not that useless, although on my way out of her office, I really had no idea what she had said. God blessed me because I had the right booklet in my hand when I re-entered her office, and she looked and me, and looked at the booklet, and said okay.

Our relationship has gone from that encounter, to a lazy Tuesday afternoon when she sat next to me and said, Clivia can you look at my English for me? (I guess she thought I was a native.) I nodded, thinking that I’ve been working for her for over two months and she finally put some form of responsibility on me. I read, I corrected, and sent it back to her, almost like sending my own work up to someone for grading.

She said très bien.

So I guess that’s that. Before coming I’ve always had the imaginary gif playing in my head, of me, and a cute French waiter, chatting off in a restaurant as I’m ordering a favorite dish. I guess right now, as I am writing this last post, might be the moment that I admit that, THAT, might never happen. My French would never be that good. Cute French waiters would never hit on me. I would never have enough money for a decent French meal. I would never pass as “French,” and that’s already determined when people look at my yellow skin.

Still one month to go, and yet already the last post. Today I also received an evaluation form of my host family, asking questions such as, “how was your living experience,” and I realized that in my response I automatically used “was,” not “is,” not even maybe “will be.” It seems like everyone is already accepting the fact that this experience is coming to an end.

Also, Ngheim came to visit. Hi Ngheim.



The debate on whether love exists on a wall in the Marais.



In the infamous Shakespeare & Co.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *