Particularly fond memories are those of my regular 'English Lessons.' Wonderful French people taking pity on that Antipodean girl with language challenges.
Following are transcripts of two conversations that I will never forget, mostly because they got a giggle out of me.
Triathlon Coach - Alors Angela , on va faire un petit footing dans le parc?
Moi - pardon? (read: what on earth is a 'footing?')
Tri Coach - Un FOOTING! Un FOOTING. In ze PARC.
Moi (Park, I understood) - Ok. Euh, what's a 'footing?'
Tri Coach - (with a smirk) Ah la petite Australienne don' speaka de Enlish?
Moi - Si, but I don't know what a footing is (although by this time I had cottoned on a little)
Tri-Coach (jiggling up and down alternating feet.)
Moi - ohhhhh, you mean going for a jog.
Tri-Coach - Oui, c'est ça. Un FOOTING
The same week at work:
Florence was explaining to me how to ask for a hairdressing appointment. Luckily I got to practice on her before picking up the phone. It was when she asked me if I wanted a 'brushing' or just a cut that things got curiouser and curiouser...
Florence/hairdresser: Alors Mademoiselle, qu'est ce que je vous fais aujourd'hui? (what am I going to do to you today? Inspires confidence, doesn't it?)
Moi - Ummm (lost for words)
Florence - Une coupe ou un brushing?
Moi - Une coupe, and, and, and (thinking: how do you say wash and blowdry as well and what is this brushing you want to do to me?)
Moi - C'est quoi, un brushing? (Vaguely wondering if it wasn't some wierd French initiation rite)
Forence- You don' speak Enlish???
Moi - (groan, again?) Si, c'est quoi un brushing?
I finally worked out that it was a style or blowdry but she regarded me suspiciously for weeks wondering, I imagine, if people really spoke English in the Southern Hemisphere...