Speaking the language

OVERHEARD: LUNCHTIME. BAJA FRESH. The manager behind the counter is trying to get orders out to customers. "Number 83. Nachos Carnitas. 83," he said into the microphone.

A Very White Man approaches the counter. "No," he said to the Spanish-speaking manager. "83 is nachos."

"Yes," the manager replied. Nachos WITH MEAT. Carnitas."


This exchange reminded me of two times where trying to speak French didn't go as planned.

The first happened in 1985, right after I graduated high school. Our school organized a trip to Europe every three years, whereby kids from rural Central PA could broaden their horizons and learn more about Our World. I think they called it the Cultural European Tour.

And so it was we found ourselves on line at the Burger King on The Avenue des Champs-Élysées (because really, nothing embodies the true culture of Paris more than a fast food restaurant on one of the world's most famous boulevards). (And this is to say nothing of the fact that several days before, we ate at Pizza Hut in London. But don't worry, Mom, I still learned a LOT!)

The guy in front of me in line, who I'm sure has since become a Pillar of his Community but then was, well, a 17 year old boy, stepped up to place his order.

"Yeah, uh, gimme summa them-there, uh, PUM-FREEEETS," he said to the pretty girl taking the order, and grinned.

The girl blinked and deadpanned, "You mean French fries?" with a glint in her eye.

"Uh… yeah."

Fast-forward to 1993, and I find myself in Paris again, this time on our honeymoon. It was a lovely October day and we'd spent it walking around the arrondissements,  soaking in the true local flavor. We came upon a vending cart, and as it happened, I was thirsty.  Eager to try using my Francais faible, I approached the woman and said:

"Une Coke-Diète, s'il-vous plait," in what I was sure was a perfect accent, one that would not belie my American upbringing to even a native Francophone.

"Eighty francs," she replied, in textbook-perfect English, completely bursting my bubble.

# # #

Your turn. Please tell me about a time where you tried to use a foreign language but things didn't go as you thought they would. Merci beaucoup.

Calling all Vegas buffs: Your input needed!

Hey hoh! Where ya gonna go?
Well, I’m goin’ to Vegas
Hey hoh! Where ya gonna go?
Well, I’m goin’ to Vegas, Nevada
To raise the game I’ve got to get to Vegas
Hey hoh! Where ya gonna go?

–Jimmy Ray, “Goin’ To Vegas”

(Hey, who you callin’ a ‘ho??)

Next week, my awesome husband and I will observe the 15th anniversary of our nuptials. I am not sure how this is possible, given that I am still only 27 years old. Nevertheless, it isn’t everyone who lasts for 15 years, and we figure we ought to celebrate… three time zones away from our delightful children.

That’s right, we’re stuffing our carry-ons and heading to Sin City for a few days. While there, we plan to do some things, and see some stuff, and we have some ideas, but we sure could use some itinerary assistance.

Here’s what I need to know: what should we NOT miss while we’re there? We have three whole days, plus the night we arrive, to go undercover, don virtual wigs, pretend we have no real responsibilities, and act like idiots.

YOU: I don’t get it. They always act like idiots. Who’s wearing a wig again?


I’ve been there before, with other females, and I have a few ideas about things I’d like to see again and share with my man. But HE has not ever been there, and this, friends, is a cosmic wrong that needs to be righted, for HE is a Vice Man, and there’s plenty of vice to go around in Las Vegas.

I will tell you this: In general, we’re not big SHOW people (we have already ruled out Cirque de Soleil and Mama Mia!) and we’re novice gamblers. We do like live music.  And – not for nothing – we’re not made of money, y’all, so cheap or free suggestions earn you extra points. Or something.

So, please, leave a comment to share your quirky, offbeat, different, maybe even risque (!) suggestions. Or if you’d rather, email me directly at soupisnotafingerfood (at) gmail (dot) com. THANKY!

Summer Whirlwind


We rolled in last night at around 6pm after 10 super-fun hours in the car. I like a roadtrip as much as the next gal, but damn if Pennsylvania isn’t like the biggest state EVER when you’re trying to get through it.

It was a fun five days. We attended my cousin’s wedding, and I was honored to be included in the ceremony as a reader. Then we headed north and inflicted our noise and hurricane-like destructive forces on my sister and her family in Vermont. I have much to share, both about the roadtrip itself as well as our time there. I took at least a skrillion photos, until my camera batteries died, and I need to upload & sort through them so that I can provide my loyal readers with visual reference points for my anecdotes. Just as soon as I find some new batteries to stick in the camera. And a couple of hours to dedicate to the project.

And by the way? What happened to summer, anyway? Oh yeah, that’s right – we spent lots of it running gasoline through our thirsty truck. In a nutshell, my summer went something like this:

Pennsylvania, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Maryland.

(My apologies to the fine states of New York and Virginia, both of which we traveled through but did not sleep in.)

And this coming weekend? One more Pennsylvania run, to reunite with various & assorted family members, attend the dirt track races, and hang at my aunt and uncle’s new log cabin in the woods.

Thanks to the pleasers who dropped in to suggest new blogs for me to read. Also on my to-do list, and I do plan to do, too. Really, I do.