|Check out As Eye See It for more of her photos|
I found a bike that I liked and it was in my price range, and so I decided I'd contact the seller. I chose to send an email, because talking on the phone in French is just hard. Several days went by and I didn't hear anything, so I assumed either my email didn't make sense or they had already sold the bike. However, much to my surprise, I received an email asking me to call to make arrangements for me to see the bike. Eeekk! Now I had to actually talk on the phone. While learning French, I have relied heavily on body language, situational cues and my general intuition to help decipher what's being said. When you're talking on the phone, you don't get any of this, it's all in the language. So before I could chicken out, I called and talked with the woman who had advertised the bike. It went fairly well and we made arrangements for me to see the bike the next day at her mother's house. I was so excited at the prospect of getting a bike, I looked up all of the vocabulary for the various bike parts and then set off for the rendezvous. I was greeted by this delightful French woman who invited me in for tea, showed me pictures of her daughters and told me stories about her grandkids. Eventually we made it to the garage and..... it was love at first sight!
It was exactly what I had hoped for; however, as I took it for a test ride, I discovered that the back tire was flat. She was so apologetic, she insisted that I leave the bike there and she would get the tire fixed. I returned the next day and not only had she fixed the tire, but she reduced the price AND gave me a lock! I rode home with a huge grin on my face and wings on my soul.
Not only did I get a great bike, but I had this empowering experience of completing the entire transaction in French, all by myself - emails, phone calls, texts, and the in-person negotiations, along with afternoon tea and an invite to return for dinner!
I'm thinking a basket for my baguettes and picnic supplies will make this the perfect bike for the rest of my time in France.