When you move to another country where you don’t speak the language, you expect things to be challenging. But I think that there are scientific studies that estimate that the odds of your expectations equaling reality is precisely 5,392,487 to 1.
When we moved to Geneva in 1997, we, like all other expats, knew that there would be culture shock. We didn’t speak the language. We didn’t know our way around. We were babes in the woods and there were wild boar in them thar hills. Oh, and in those woods.
In fact, we hadn’t been in Switzerland long before John came down with a cold. NBD, right? Off to the pharmacy we went.
But of course, we couldn’t speak the language, which made it a bit of a challenge.
Nevertheless, I took my responsibility as family french speaker seriously. I went to the pharmacy with my husband with my English-French/French-English dictionary in hand.
My husband has a cold (mon mari a un rhume). He has a stuffy nose (il a un nez bouché).
Sadly, my french was not really good. And I learned again that day that if you are foolish enough to speak to a french speaker in French, the asshole will respond to you in french! WTF?????? Why do they DO that?
Anyway, in pidgeon french, I told the pharmacist that we wanted a decongestant. And really, it didn’t seem like such a big deal.
“Vous avez besoin d’un lavage de nez,” said the pharmacist.
John and I looked at each other.
“She’s recommending a nose washer,” I said. “I guess that makes sense. I guess a decongestant will “wash you nose.”
We were handed a box and the pharmacist allowed us to open it to look at the instructions. The illustrated instructions. Color illustrations. of a man leaning over the sink with a ‘lavage de nez’ in one nostril and a stream of green snot pouring out of the other.
Upon our return to the US, we learned that netti pots had become popular remedies for stuffy noses.
They also spread infection because they are difficult to clean. And then there is the goo that goes into the sink….
Tonight while spending money I don’t have on gifts for folks, I saw a commercial for a Navage.
So I needed to share my story. Because that’s what we bloggers do.
I just felt it necessary to prove that I don’t only think about poop when I think about weird medical treatments.
But of course, everything I discuss would interest any 12 year old. Like me.