Can you say “dinner” in five languages?
That’s the challenge we faced last week when our host family welcomed some friends.
One guest was a Moldovan psychologist (below in the green blouse) who now lives in Paris. She speaks both French and English but her French boyfriend, who came with her, speaks neither Romanian nor English.
Champa and I try to converse with our host family in Romanian but often speak some English with them, especially with Alisa, who speaks English well. (That’s Alisa with Champa in the photo below.) The two of us also speak some Nepali, just like back home.
Our host family is fluent in both Romanian and Russian, like most Moldovans. When people visit, their conversation is often a mishmash of both languages.
In other words … well, yes: in other words. It made for an interesting dinner. I tried to speak French with the boyfriend (shown here, with the beard) since I studied it in high school and once spoke it fairly well. But it was frustrating. I understood much of what he said but sputtered in Romanian when I tried to reply.
Just to make the situation more confusing, Champa and I studied Spanish years ago, and she occassionally says por favor instead of vă rog here in Moldova.
So our dinner conversation was complicată, compliquée and complicated. As you can see, though, the food was delightful, as were the company and the conversation. We all laughed, toasted, ate too much and made new friends. It was a memorable evening of speaking and eating with many tongues.