I am now officially a francophone (don’t ask me what I was before, because to be honest with you, I don’t know! On the account of my spoken English and Kinyarwanda, I would be dishonest to claim that I am a ‘phone’ of either).
When you go to France, do as the French do, so the saying goes. And last Sunday I told you how the visit by Oncle Nic brought tremendous changes to my bird hunting life. When I say “tremendous changes,” I hope you also understand the magnitude.
Well, if you like, I took reconciliation to another level – Romeo and Juliet style.
The only difference is that our ‘relationship mending’ antics did not start as the ‘feud’ lasted but rather at the end of it. Nonetheless, I don’t believe so much in romance born out of hatred and suffering. Who said romance cannot spring out of celebration and go all the way?
Well, surprise, surprise! Despite a few well meaning words getting lost in translation (or the lack of it), our thing with the bird from Oncle Nic’s family did go well and as things look, this might stand the test of time.
After the first meeting at Mille Collines as I told you, the next day was even more adventurous, after the bird decided to postpone her departure in order to get to learn more about the land of 1K hills.
And as a self styled/appointed ‘tour (bird) guide’ for my country, I dedicated my every faculty to this task, if you know what I mean (wink).
But my main challenge was the fact that this bird from the land of perfumes and romance, it seems, was not aware that historically she was supposed to be related to the Queen next door in one way or another.
That is why she did not bother to learn a single word of the Queen’s language. I therefore had problems trying to take her around town for example, as I tried to show her how beautiful the land of 1K hills was so that I would ultimately convince her to come back again.
It was even made worse by the fact that her accent was so heavy I could even not understand when she said some of the common words used in Kigali like ‘cinquante’(senkanti), ‘Vinght’ (venti) ‘vraiment’ (vurema). Pretending to understand and smile proved futile because she was beginning to realize that I was not ‘clicking’ anything.
I knew I was busted when she started to ask things and at the same time look me in the eye for ‘follow up’ as if I had signed a performance contract to understand each and every word she said.
Things became worse when she resorted to sign language to make sure communication was more effective. This made me kind of uneasy, especially when we were among people on the streets of Kigali.
I mean, people know me as an international guy, what would they think if they saw me communicating to her by sign language as if I was deaf?
If the bird had been Chinese, that would have been somehow understandable.
I tried to minimize the damage caused by my inadequacy in the French language but deep down I knew that something sustainable had to be done to save my reputation if I intended to keep this bird.
That is why I decided to enroll for French lessons immediately after seeing her off at the Kigali International airport.
This is what I did and as I write this, I am in class and the French teacher has asked me to memorise a song called ‘jolie bouteille’ as my first assignment.
The song sounds nice but I am yet to ask him what it means. I only understand the word ‘jolie’ because a bird who went by the same name once told me it means “cute” or beautiful.
Wish me luck in my lessons because Carine said she would be coming back in the summer – whatever that is.