When we returned from Holland, we found this piece of paper shoved under our door. Seems that I would have to stay home the next Monday morning. Le Lundi 12/4/10 – that would be Monday 12th of April 2010 and Le A.M. – that would be the morning.
Yes, in some ways France can be just like the US. We’ll be there sometime in the morning, have fun waiting around. I’m sure you have nothing better to do…. grr!
So, the kids and I stayed in the house all the morning long and kept Simone locked up in one room (since that’s what the instructions said to do). But, surprise, surprise, no one showed! Right after lunch we let out the cat and went out grocery shopping (I left a note for the Iserba person in case they showed explaining I had waited all morning) Shortly after returning, we heard the doorbell ring. Sure enough, it was Mr. Iserba – hoping to take care of our heat and ventilation systems.
Mr. Iserba: Hello, I’m here to take care of your heating and ventilation.
Me: Well, it’s about time! You are lucky I am here – I waited for you all morning!
Mr. Iserba: You did? Well, I’m so sorry you had to do that (checking his papers) Wait a minute, are you sure I was supposed to be here this morning? My schedule says this afternoon.
Me: Sure? Am I sure? I am totally sure! Look at this right here – this paper you left last week (shoving it in his face). It says it right here AM, AM – that’s the morning. I was here all AM!
Mr. Iserba (remarkably not even laughing): A.M. is the afternoon. A.M. is apres-midi. (For those who don’t know, apres midi means afternoon in French)
Me: What? A.M. is apres-midi? AM is afternoon? Oh, I can’t believe I didn’t figure that out! I know perfectly well you use the 24 hour clock not A.M and P.M. (I am laughing now.) I’m sorry I was mean to you. But, seriously,what do you write when you are coming in the morning?
Mr. Iserba: Matin (that would be morning in French)
Me (almost to myself): OK, so matin is matin and A.M. is apres-midi……
Mr. Iserba: Um…. how long have you been in France?
Me: 18 months.
At that point Mr. Iserba swallowed a laugh and got down to work. I, on the other hand, got to face the humiliating realization that my Blundering in Besancon days are far, far, far, far from over.
A rose by any other name may still smell as sweet. But an A.M. in French does not smell, feel or look the same as an A.M in the USA. Good information to have, if you ever decide to live here. I wish someone had told me.