It took months of preparation: study, research, training. I rehearsed it in my head dozens of times, how it would go. It was so daunting, with such potential for failure, that I kept putting it off. But I knew that I would have to swallow my pride, tackle my fears and go through with it. If only to confirm my status as a true American.

The day came when, confidence at a new high, I felt strong. Strong enough to push past the discomfort. Hand trembling, I dialed the phone. A voice answered, in French. I swallowed hard and spoke, timidly at first, but finally making myself clear. Unmistakably clear. By the time it was all over, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment, coupled with relief. Exhausted, I took the afternoon off.

So, I have an appointment for my first dental checkup and cleaning in France, in two weeks.

5 thoughts on “Victory

  1. KudzuCarl

    I took German in high school and college but was never comfortable with conversation. I could tell plenty of stories of nearly-disastrous misunderstandings during many years of travel to Germany. However, I knew for sure that I just wasn’t any good at it when I called a hotel front desk to leave a wake up call time, spoke my best German to the desk lady, and she answered me in English. As a French friend once told me — “If you speak two languages, you are bi-lingual, if you speak three languages, you are tri-lingual, and if you speak only one language, you are American.”

  2. Rosie

    You are very lucky indeed if you have found a dentist who will clean your teeth as well as ruin them. We have had various dentists here in the last 18 years…all of them dreadful. After all, Jimmy has just gone to India to have his done for good reason…

  3. amy

    Yikes! You have me worried now Rosie (more than I already was) that I should just wait til the next trip to America for a cleaning…it’s true, convincing him that there was nothing wrong and that it was routine took some doing. And Carl, I’ve learned to just blunder on in French even if people respond in English. Eventually they tend to back down, even if it’s just to humor me. The intimidation factor seems to be the biggest hurdle!

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