DARN IMMIGRANTS! Part 2 – The French Struggle

As I mentioned, there are a lot of different backgrounds, ethnicities and languages in my class.  I speak to the Chilean girl in Spanish, to the Afghans/Iranians in Farsi and to most others in English as our German does not always suffice for what we want to say.  There is a girl from Cameroon in my class.  She is around 30, has a daughter and her mother tongue is French.  She and I immediately got along in my class as she is smart, witty and has a great sense of humour. But there are a lot of things she does that drive me crazy.

On one of the first days of class, as soon as she found out I was Canadian, she immediately asked if I knew how to speak French.  I laughed and told her in my broken French “Oui, juste un petite peu” (which really is just a little bit because I’ve forgotten nearly all my French) – but this “petite peu” somehow translated to “I speak French fluently” to the Cameroon girl because from that moment on, she spoke to me pretty much only in French and kept asking me to translate from German to French!  Geezuz!

During class, we work on certain tasks where we are supposed to talk to each other in German and just practice speaking.  No matter how nice she is, I hate working with the Cameroon girl.  She won’t speak to me in German and she’ll go off tangent and start speaking in French to me and get mad at me for not speaking to her back in French.  Sure I can understand a little bit, but it confuses the hell out of me and it’s so basic that it’s better to speak in German.  No matter how many times I ask her to please speak in German, she always pouts and says that I speak all the other languages with my other classmates but I refuse to speak French to her.  How many times do I have to tell her it’s because I DON’T SPEAK FRENCH!

The last time we worked together, instead of doing the assignment we were supposed to do she proceeded to tell me that she was quite pissed off that the Afghan guy was sitting in her spot.  She had to sit next to me near the back of the class when she usually sits in the front.  She went on and on about this, how she told him that’s her spot, that she needs that spot because she has bad eyes and how he keeps sitting there and she hates it and wonders why no one else sits in other people’s spots.  And this is coming from someone who comes to class late all the time and sometimes brings her 4 year old daughter with her to cIass so we can all babysit her together (that’s a whole other story).  I  kept telling her to just get to class on time and maybe she could get her spot – but there also really is no “fixed” spots.  We aren’t in Grade 1 for goodness sakes! She just kept rolling her eyes and saying “But it’s my spot!”.  Like what am I supposed to say or do?  And why am I wasting my German learning time where I am supposed to be practicing our German vocabulary on this stuff?  Argggh!

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