2009-12-14: French Holiday



Date: December 14, 2009


Two non-French French speakers speak French while out looking for gifts to send their family.

"French Holiday"

Target (a Target Greatland, if you're feeling super special)

It's Monday evening and people are starting to mill home from working, trailing their feet behind them with the Monday Blues. Those who are inclined to go shopping for their multitudes of needs, whether those be Christmas presents or supplies for their kitchens or whatever else, make their ways to a variety of stores. One of said people out shopping this evening is Sierra LeBlanc. She still has Christmas shopping to get done so that she can ship the presents to her family up in Canada to be sure that it will get to them in time. She is currently in the electronics section, browsing.

Ah, the electronics section-the place for high-tech gifts for yourself…well, and others if you're that sort of person. It's busy, as one might expect, but it's a haven compared to the special 'seasonal' section of these stores at this time of year. Thankfully, Alex has already fought her way through that section to get the essentials for an apartment decorating fest: tiny little pre-lit tree; a few ornaments for said tree; string lights to hang about the place; new bathmats, soap dishes, some new plates and mugs; a wreath; the basics for making an apartment look like a decorated dorm room. Now, she's made her way to the elctronics section to actually start the gift-buying. The goal is a nice digital or two at a good price, so she can send one to her father and keep one to share life here with her parents.

"Mon Dieu, what a ridiculous price." Sierra murmurs, looking at a camera. "I could buy a couple of good quality dresses for that price!" She shakes her head. "Tres cher. Too expensive for my taste." She moves to the video cameras and starts to compare the prices and functions. "I wonder if any of these come in 'basic'. Goodness knows mon papa hardly knows how to operate a computer."

Maybe it's fate but…another French speaker here? Hearing Sierra, Alex can't help but look up and smile. "Sounds like we have the same problem!" Alex declares, letting her decorations-stuffed cart hang near the other side of the aisle, getting closer to the side lined with the still and video cameras. "This one I was eyeing in the circular over the weekend. Basic, but does what you'd expect a camera to," she says, motioning to a slender little camera with a big screen and plenty of photo storage memory. "I'm sorry, but…I couldn't help but notice, but…" For the moment, Alex lets herself slip into the Cajun French she grew up with. "(You speak French, yes?)"

Sierra looks up to find the source of voice. "Ah, oui? The father who can hardly use a computer?" She says to Alexandra, chuckling slightly. "Yes, my father is a bit helpless when it comes to that, really." She says softly, with a little grin. She looks at the indicated camera, listening intently. "Well, it might seem that that would be the camera to get to for my father. Merci, I don't know if I would have decided on this one otherwise!" There's a tilt of her head. "(Yes, I do speak French. Born and raised speaking it.)" Comes her reply in French.

The fact that Sierra can communicate in French brings a smile to Alex's face. It's not often she gets to flex her French-muscles away from home after all…at work, occasionally, but the French partners are pretty good at speaking English. "(The very same! Both parents. Insisted I learn it, growing up in the French Quarter and all. It was a novelty thing at the bed and breakfast they own.)" The well-loved bag, the very same one that broke her fall on the sidewalk just the other night when the earthquakes happened makes an appearance once more; it's sitting in the cart she pushes, and from within, she pulls out a folded copy of the circular. Within, the values she intends to take advantage of are circled in black permanent marker, cameras included.

Sierra smiles. It's not too often that she gets to speak full on French outside of Canada, so this is quite unusual, but not unwelcome. "(I am from Canada, and where I lived…well, my parents both spoke French at home, and French was a predominant language in the area I am from, as well as one of Canada's two official languages.)" Oh French, what a wonderful language. As she walks along as well, she glances to Alex. "(You're accent is different from what I am used to though. It is not like France French either.)"

"Well, we can speak in English easily enough! I know it kind of…irks people to hear languages other than English around. But yes, I can't help but speak with a Cajun accent…founded by French people, after all!" Speaking of the cameras, Alex doesn't seem to hesitate as she picks two off the rack (from the back, naturally), and after inspecting the boxes to make sure they haven't been dropped or opened, slides them into her cart, on top of all the decorations. "It's so strange…usually my mother decorates the house. Now I've got my own place to buy for, and I'm worried I didn't get the right things!"

Sierra shakes her head. "(We can speak French as well, if you wish. I can understand you fine. I didn't mean to infer that I couldn't.)" She smiles softly. "But it is up to you." She says, switching into English just as easily. She looks at her own list. "I really should not have left my shopping even to this point. I have to mail this all express post up to Canada."

"Precisely! But mine only need go to New Orleans. Unfortunately, work has taken my time overseas the last few weeks." Not to mention the loss of an entire evening at the end of last week, courtesy of Lena. "Thankfully, I've managed to snag the rest of this week off…for a combination of off-time and personal time leading up the holidays. I just hope my gifts will get there in time, barring actually traveling there to visit." There are bigger things at stake here in NYC, however, and Alex has stumbled into too much to be absent when she doesn't absolutely need to be.

Sierra sighs softly. "It is certainly easier for your presents to get to where they are going. Going cross boarder is kind of…more difficult." She shrugs. "Oh well. Ce la vie, eh?" She says. "Hmm…I still have to get a present for my brother. I always find him to be the hardest to shop for!" She says with a frown. "I do not know why." While she, herself, would have considered going home for Christmas as well, she has work to be done at the Queens Gazette. They probably wouldn't let her leave if she wanted to.

"Now that is something I've never had to worry about; I'm an only child. I often imagine what it would be like, though! How old is he, if you don't mind me asking?" Alex brandishes the magic circular as if it might have all the answers for shopping…well, at least at this particular store on this particular night it certainly should!

"He is 27." Sierra grins. "Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be an only child. Not that I don't care about my brother, but I can't help but wonder!" With her brother having always been very overprotective of her, she always wonders what it would be like to not have that influence in her life. "It's not too bad having a brother, though. After all, if he ever has children, I can be the doting aunt."

"Very true! I don't get to be an aunt, but I certainly can be a doting cousin; as you can imagine, my family is rather traditional. And I say that to mean big." Alex is now leaning on the pushbar of her shopping cart, content to chat, but knowing that she should probably wander to another section of the store; she still has a gift to get for her mother, who is just a bit harder to shop for compared to her father.

Sierra grins. "Nothing wrong with big families, and there's certainly nothing wrong with being a doting cousin. It must be fun to have a lot of cousins." She says happily. "It's certainly something I do not know much about. My family is not all that big." She smiles. "It must be nice though, to have a big family. Makes reunions very very fun, non?"

"Oh, very much so! At least, before the drinking starts. But the eating typically calms everyone down." It's a typical deep-south, Cajun-style gathering, to be sure. Alex herself is pretty much in the middle of the family, agewise, maybe a little on the older side. "We haven't had one in a few years though. But maybe this summer. It'll be a good chance to go back home, but there's just too much I'm involved with, job-wise and otherwise right now to manage a long trip home."

Sierra smiles a little. "Well food…it is the spice of life. It's one of the many things that pull us all together!" She says happily. "Thinking of which, I need to finish up shopping and get myself something to eat before I starve!" She smiles. "Well, I do hope you get a chance to go home. It's always a good thing to do, every once and a while."

"Oui! I understand completely! I hope you get a chance to visit home as well. But for now, it was lovely meeting you! All the best on the rest of your shopping!" With that, Alex gives a little wave, and finally gets to pushing that loaded shopping cart down the aisle. She's headed toward the kitchenwares section; all that talk of food has not only made her hungry, but given her a nice idea for a gift for her mother.

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