Month: April 2013

Identity

I wonder what it feels like to see a flag and feel instantly connected to it.

See, when I was 11, I moved to the capital of Latin America- Miami. From then on, my upbringing, though it ocurred in a very Venezuelan household, was situated in one of the most diverse cities in the world.
This, obviously, affected my outlook on things.
The fact that I come from a nation with deep political and social turmoil that affects even those who have left generations ago exacerbated my desire to set myself apart from the new arrivals. I rejected my own nationality, my own brethren.

I see a Venezuelan flag and, yeah, it’s my flag. But it’s tainted with the fact that I left.

I see the American flag, and to me, as cheesy as it sounds, it stands for the effort and sacrifices my parents have made for us. But I feel no pride, no relation.

Maybe because I was in a transitional point in my life from child to teenager when the dramatic change happened, that there’s a few things that might be a little out of place, a little twisted.
To me, the most natural thing is to move from place to place. I sometimes wonder what it feels like to be born, grow up and have a life in just one place. It would be the definition of stability, but to me, that idea is so far-fetched that in my head, surely, no such thing exists today!
And then you meet them: the people that were actually born in Miami, went to elementary, middle, high school, community college or university and got a job in the same city. They’ve seen it gradually change. They’re true locals.
I can sometimes be the quintessential Miami girl- the biggest annoyance to Miami inhabitants seeking to get out: I love Pitbull, I have a very terrible weakness for reggaeton and salsa, I love “nicheria”, I drive like a maniac (only because it’s a survival skill), I speak Spanglish, I went to FIU….

But once an immigrant, always an immigrant.

I was, at first, resisting all that was Miramar (which technically, is in Broward County, not even Dade County. My brothers are always sure to point out the fact). Why? Because what my body and spirit crave- liveliness, crowds, all things latin- were missing. Miramar is sleepy suburbia. And back in the year 2000, it was still developing. Superfuckinghorrible.
It was only until I started driving around, that I started going to school in Miami and got an internship and eventually a job there, that I was truly happy.
I love going to places like El Palacio de los jugos on 57th and Flagler. I like dancing with strangers (DJ included) at Tapas y Tintos, I love being surrounded by the endless accents, testing the variety of cuisines- from caribbean fares to argentinian bife and empanadas. I love having options and having them all at my fingertips!

And then, I found myself wanting to leave Miami. Why? Because I made the horrible mistake of thinking I was too big for the place. I had ambition, which others clearly didn’t. I didn’t want my life to follow the dreaded path of getting a job and marrying either a Belen boy (as sexy as they may be) or some guy with a fresh tape.
Surely I was never going to go back to Miami. Ever. Ew.
But, as life would have it, I now find myself yearning it more than ever- the sunlight, the traffic, the people…I miss getting into my car with no A/C and its loud/loudest radio volume setting and driving on the highway, getting on the overpasses of I-95 and seeing the ocean in the distance. Miami was my home. My heart was there. And yet, I lied to myself and convinced my brain that I had to leave.

Little did I know that leaving would make me hesitate at a very basic question:
Where am I from? Or, in other words WHO THE FUCK AM I?
Back in Miami, I had been saying “well, I’m Venezuelan but I’m from here”, which is totally acceptable because, hey! We are all immigrants!
Now I find myself in Paris, where people don’t really care to know. It felt weird to say “I’m from the States”, because even though I hold American citizenship since June of last year, something feels really odd in my stomach when I say it. The second answer I found myself giving was “Miami”, but I felt like Miami negated my childhood and all the things that still form part of my Venezuelan identity. Third try. “Venezuela”, I reply.
This answer has triggered the same reaction over and over again. A broad smile from men, and threatening looks from women (hooray!)

And yet, I have rebuked all things Venezuelan the past few years. I only have a few Venezuelan friends (and funny enough, they are from my same litter: pulled from the country right before adolescence), I didn’t particularly care for our food as I was more into getting my cuban coffee…I was not Venezuelan in the community’s eye. They refused me the way I refused them.
It actually took me forever to put into words what was going on in my head. I knew something was floating about in my brain but it was actually my former roommate (whom I know from Miami) who looked me dead in the eye and said: “You are dying to belong. You are dying to connect and you know this. Stop fighting it”.
I may have shed a tear or two.
He was right.
It took some slaps in the face in a foreign country to realize that all along I was suppressing a desire to still belong.

It was only during a time of an extremely complex political scenario that I went back to feeling patriotic (in a way). I went to protests to show my discontent with the powers that be, I tried to keep myself as informed as possible and tried to support a cause from overseas. And still I get called names, get called out on the fact that I no longer live there, I get scolded for “not knowing anything”. Sometimes it’s a big turn-off to want to be part of a society that will give me a slap in the wrist for trying to reintegrate myself.

But this is precisely why, despite all the bullshit I have had to put up with here, I do not regret coming to Paris: The ordeals I have lived here, the situations life has handed me while I am on my own here have changed me, for they have rattled my very core. I have had to rely solely on myself when my source for support checked out. I was forced to dig- really dig– inside and analyze who I really am and where I come from. It has pried my eyes open, broadened my scope of things. Shit, it has given my gray area a trillion nuances of the color!

I am a citizen of the world, who had the luck to be born in a beautiful country, with resilient people and utter shit leaders.

And that’s actually pretty cool!

(…except the shitty leader part, of course!)

Venezuela

What’s up with all this stuff on my newsfeed? Vene-what? Is that in Africa?

No.

It’s a country that pumps the oil that goes in your car, and grows the coffee and cocoa beans you love to mix up in your mocha frappucino (we do not condone soy milk, by the way). Also, it’s a country at the brink of a civil war.

Venezuela, my native land, is situated in South America. It has the most beautiful beaches you will ever see, the most delicious food you’ll ever try, and the nicest (and prettiest) people on the planet. Don’t believe me? We got 6 Miss Universes, and two of them were back-to-back.

You know, whatever.

You know, whatever.

But like any other country that aspired to become a utopia, there were things that were left in the back burner…this is where it gets ugly. And a lot of people will probably get angry at me, but this is how it goes:

Social mobility does not exist in Venezuela. It’s all about maintaining the status quo. You were born poor? Well, you’re going to die poor.
Sorry not sorry!

Remember the book (or movie) The Help? Society in Venezuela was just like that. Growing up, our Help had her own room, her own bathroom and her own dishes and silverwear and we were not to touch it.
How considerate, right?
No.
It’s because you don’t know where they’ve been. Lord forbids you catch poverty and illiteracy by touching it.

These women, of course, had children of their own, but it was the eternal irony of leaving their home and their children behind so they could look after someone else’s home and someone else’s children.

But that was life and I was a child and I had no idea of the irony of it all.

The lower classes were never taken care of- they were never educated, they were never given the tools to fully advance and move up in society. And everyone seemed to be fine with this.

Was there resentment? Surely. Did I see it? No. I was a kid. Did the grown ups see it? Sure. Could they do anything about it? Sure. Did they? Well…no.

I’m not going on a crusade nor am I pointing fingers and placing blame. Just pointing out facts.
And so the slums grew more and more each year- they took over the beautiful mountains that surround Caracas (my hometown). It got out of hand.

I'm not lying.

I’m not lying.

And in came a man promising equality for all- justice for all the years this lower class had been overlooked.
He was elected, democratically, with a message of peace and prosperity.
Did my social strata like this? Oh no!
But it was not because this man came from poverty. It was because his peace message was just a sugar coat over his feelings of resentment and the fact that he had orchestrated a coup d’état that failed and was consequently jailed.

Granted, Margaret Thatcher called Nelson Mandela a terrorist. But I’m neither Margaret Thatcher nor was Hugo Chavez Nelson Mandela (my most sincere apology to Mr. Mandela for putting his name next to the other one). Quite the opposite: he was a autocratic megalomaniac (Lately, it’s the latest rage in Latin American politics!)

Crime skyrocketed, private companies became property of the government, the economy took a nosedive and all of a sudden, our oil (our KING) was being gifted around. Alliances were formed with such happy nations as Iran, Cuba, North Korea. We were the bad kids in the playground.

Usually bad kids grow up to be bad adults.

And so, our bad-ass government became, well, bad.

People starve due to shortages brough on by mismanagement and a blatant lack of conscience/care. Even abroad people are controled. Ask people about CADIVI: the government has to approve a credit card with a set amount of money which is your allowance abroad. Doesn’t matter if you’re going for 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 months.

You’re fucked.

And yet, people trudged on living their every day lives. People left the country, the diaspora abroad did nothing because there was nothing to do.

Then, this man (Henrique Capriles Radonsky) whom I had heard of before came around saying he wanted to be president.
Do you, now?
He spoke about peace, he spoke about patience, he spoke about unity and democracy. He called Caracas, the crime and kidnapping capital of the world heroica (heroic). This man gave Caracas its dignity back! No more “revolution”, no more allusions to El Che or the Castro brothers.
And guess what? This guy was totally believable!

If not strike me dead, for these are the people that support him.

If not strike me dead, for this is a small token of  the people that took to the streets to support him.

What is this little feeling bubbling up inside me?
Is it hope? Oh my God! Is this what hope feels like? It’s exciting, it’s refreshing, people will be able to move up, to have jobs, to eat! Holy shit!! \(^^,)/ This man actually has a plan. He wants to give Venezuela its sovereignty back. He believes in social justice, in helping your fellow man.
I sound polarized. How do you know this guy is not like the other? After hearing messages of violence, of military propaganda, of severing ties with other nations, rampant crime and escalating inflation this man is a breath of fresh air.

October 7th, 2012 rolled around. Election time. Everyone was convinced Capriles would win. He did not. It was a bitter day.

Then Chavez had to leave for some cancer treatment in Cuba. We did not hear from him for months. It was rumored he had died. On New Year’s Eve, we got a phone call: Chavez was dead. Just like that. It was the weirdest feeling. Anticlimactic, almost. All these years waiting and waiting and then the resolution was too easy.
These news did not become official until March 6th, 2013.
If the government had acknowledged Chavez was dead was because they have a plan.

Sure enough, elections were called but those who were not register to vote from the elections 6 months ago were not allowed to register. Super fair, huh?

The interim president was Nicolas Maduro. A man who rose from union leader to…president. Sounds a lot like the american dream except this man never went to school and has no idea what it takes to run a country.
Do I?
Well, I have a hunch you need a degree and some knowledge in economics, management, history, and geography to begin with.

But nevermind this. This man embodied what people could become. What all these repressed citizens who had been cast aside wanted. Even if it meant bringing everyone down.
So these emergency elections took place on April 14th of 2013 and the results were nearly 50/50.
This is fraud.
How do you know, girl?
Because not even the past elections were so tight. Also, polling places were being closed, people were being intimidated into voting for Maduro and oh! Witnesses form tables got killed when they reported irregularities.

Venezuela found itself in the center of the international eye with fraudulent elections, a population divided in half, and a civil war about to break out.
People are ready to take to the streets, but Capriles is urging there be peace. El que tiene razon tiene que tener calma. Those who are right must be patient. Tensions are mounting, a recount is still being demanded,  and he is still insisting in being calm.
The other guy? He’s losing his marbles.

So, in a nutshell, this is what’s going on. If you care to read more, check out these guys:
http://caracaschronicles.com/

Also, I don’t expect people to understand. I also don’t expect for people to care, but if you’ve made it this far reading this, then maybe you do. I just wanted to get your attention because my family back home wants a future and I want them to have one too.
They want peace, safety…they want to break the cycle of violence and anarchy of the past 14 years. I want all my friends who are young professionals are able to have long, fulfilling careers in their home country, not abroad out of necessity. I don’t want to hear the word “revolutionary” ever again in my life when it comes to describing the governing bodies, I don’t want to see people wearing red as a sign of the “revolution”. I don’t want to see any more militant propaganda. I, along with 14 million other people are tired of this caudillo (look it up in the dictionary). I am tired of the word “democracy” being thrown around when there is clearly a violation of even the most basic rights. I’m tired of people lying and others allowing themselves to be lied to.

We learned our lesson.

As I write this, I have live TV streaming on my computer. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is walking down the streets of the city I grew up in for Maduro’s inauguration. Try and imagine how that feels. Try and imagine how it feels to be robbed of everything, to have to leave your country behind (and your family, and your friends) and not know if you’ll ever come back.

Let it sink in.

And a big fat fuck you to the United Nations and the Organization of American States for turning a blind eye to Venezuela and the world for all these years. It’s too late to care now. Let us do our will.

Fuck you a million times.

So then Paris says to me it says: Grow the fuck up!

And it sucked.
It kind of…sneaks up on you and you’re like “No, wait! I’m not ready!” and then it drags you by the ankles (while you scratch the floor with your nails).

It’s de-stabilizing, it’s harsh, it’s…shocking.

Peter, please! Help me!

One minute you are invinsible, with the world at the palm of your hand singing sensible songs (hey! Alliteration! Totally unintentional) that may go like “I tell a bad bitch to do whatever I say” or “I hit the strip club and the bitches find the pole”.
And you’re single.
And never been to a strip club.
And broke.
And live with your parents.
But it’s totally acceptable because- hey! You’re at the threshold of adulthood but have not quite crossed over yet! And I can’t say I don’t enjoy singing about bitches and all of my swag (I got a lot of it, I will have you know)

Hmmmm!

But the day I realized I had physically and mentally left the nest….well…everything changed.

The second you must fend for yourself you will find yourself thinking “Shit….momma was right” so. Many. Times.

All of a sudden you find you have no one but yourself to rely on. Granted, some have the fortune of coming from very tight-knit families where they always pull through.
But what if you don’t? Or, better yet, my favorite tease: What if you have a wonderful family half the world away? My closest direct relative lives in the south of Spain.
You learn to be savvy and cut your losses because sometimes, even if you win at something, you lose more than you have to gain (see: supermarket story from “La queue”).

As a lone female city dweller I have had to learn to protect myself. I’m not talking about carrying a bottle of pepper spray or a shank (though I do like the idea of brass knuckles). I’m talking deception, setting boundaries, and learning how to say “No”.

Let’s start with the easiest one, which is actually one of the trickiest ones: Saying no. And being firm.

I was a people pleaser. I actually still am with a handful of people in my life, for very personal reasons. Anyway, the first time I said “no” to something I was still at home. It was easy, peacy because I had my parents to rely on. I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to because I had a support system. Sometimes “No” was wise, sometimes that “No” translated as “I’m still a kid plo plo plo plo!”

Earlier this year I ended up getting chatted up by a guy at a bar. He was not sleazy, he was not disrespectful. He was genuinely nice. And fruity! We exchanged information and I saved his number on my phone even though I didn’t even pay attention to what his name was. But I had secured a fruity french friend (I seem to be into alliterations today). So days passed, we would exchange the random text and then I agreed to meet him for drinks.
It was a trap.
It was a date.
When I finally caught on that he was not gay I felt like a fool. This man had been an incredible gentleman the whole night. He took the tab, which raised my first red flag; was very interested in what I did and what I had to say and then tried to get the elusive first-date kiss.

(Hi, mom! All those times you didn’t like me going to clubs taught me how to turn him down without humiliating him! See? Educational!)

Eventually, after more pursuing from him I had to give it to him straight. I had, for the first time, straight tell up someone “No”. No, I am not interested. I felt a little guilty. I had been foolish enough to let it drag on. He has a paid job, an interesting life story, was very sweet and attentive- the complete package for a real adult- and he could have been using his energies pursuing someone who would have really appreciated him.

The story is not the greatest example, I know, but a start’s a start.

And this segways me into boundaries! A smile is a boundary bulldozer. You don’t smile at stragers. You don’t reply to what they say. They approach you? Ignore them, and if they don’t get the hint, you move. You can also use your deadliest weapon: “No”. If all fails, use deception. My favorite weapon. I have only had to whip it out a handful of times.

The most recent one was maybe like ten days ago. If you go back to the “Métro” post and watch the video, there’s a part where a man sort of walks by the camera and gave the peace sign. Because I was feeling so happy to hear such great music I let my guard down (first mistake) and smiled (FOOL!). Minutes later, I was still listening to the music and noticed this man was back. Standing directly opposite from me, leaning against the wall doing what French people do best: STARING.
DIRECTLY.
AT.
ME.
Um…
Ignore him, girl! Ignore him! That’ll send a hint. I stood there for a few more minutes, and he was still there. He was beginning to burn a hole in my face from all that staring. I decided to make my escape as a huge crowd emerged from the tunnels and hurried to my exit.
What is my surprise? This man caught up with me as I was about to take the stairs to go down my street. Oh, hell no.
His mouth was so close to my earlobe I could feel his body heat.
I put my foot on the first step, he does the same.
I’m not dealing with this right now.
I whipped around and made a 180 and got lost with the crowd going up the opposite stairs. Tonight, I would use an alternate route home.

Like I said, no one but yourself to protect you. Get savvy.

And if you think this is the scariest thing about growing up- it’s not. Some of us struggle so much with what life hands us at once that it becomes overwhelming and must ask for help. Pride is no longer a matter of, well, pride.
Memorize this, as I preach to the choir: Learning how to ask for help is what separates the men from the boys (in my case the girls from the women).
The good news is you learn to handle it and then it becomes your nature. You become an adult.
I’m still in the process and still moan and roll my eyes. But then I have to strap down, put my big girl panties on and take care of business.
…Because if you don’t, no one else will.

I will say, though, that there is a beauty to this whole business. You re-learn everything you thought you knew. You amass enough experience to form your own conclusion on things. You assert your personality a little better. You become a little stronger. You love yourself more and appreciate everything that people have done for you. Once you get over the initial roller coaster of “BUT I DON’T WANNA GROW UP!” there’s a certain magic to being a young adult. Growing up and becoming an adult is not the end. I would actually say it’s the beginning of great things. I am only at the very beginning of the stretch, but I still keep my inner child alive, I like to stop and smell the roses, and I treat myself by doing/eating things I enjoy.

But in the meantime, don’t ever be in a hurry to grow up and enjoy this very moment.

La queue

“Il faut faire la queue!”
La que?
La queue!
Stand in line! In an orderly fashion! Wait your turn!

Except we’re in France.

And it’s more like “Allez! Let’s all clusterfuck!”

Remember when you were in school and people would cut the lunch line? There really are fewer things that peeve me as much as that. The hoodrats in my suburbian school where houses went for half a millino dollars (or around it, you know, we keep it classy) would love to cut as they stole juice pouches or milk cartons.

I guess they did make it far enough. I remember this girl who made it all the way to the top of the industry- from home video to porn star. And she was that big cutter.

But back to the point at hand.

People in France have this love for cutting lines. It’s as if they’re allergic, or against their nature, to stand behind a person in an orderly fashion. It’s the big n’importe quoi and all of us just gotta deal with it.

Sometimes it’s the very subtle sneak-to-the-front that was so good, so smooth that you’re just like “Well, I guess I deserved it…” and then you let it go.

Sometimes, it’s the shoulder dance where they sort of just…push you a little here, wiggle a little there and bam! After putting a little resistance you just drop it.
Then it escalates.
You wait for the people to get off the wagons, and this trick just comes from out of nowhere and pushes you out of the way. And that’s when you get that instinct à la Mean Girls and you just wanna pounce back. And that’s how most fights are started in the métro.

Oh, and did I mention they do this with a straight face? Like it’s all kosher?

Yesterday I was making my way across town and as I changed lines in the wonderful Charles de Gaulle-Étoile station, someone decided to jump onto the tracks (remember what I mentioned about the microphone on a previous post? “Accident grave de voyageur” will ruin your night. Sometimes your life).

So, anyway, there’s a huge crowd in a tiny platform because the service has been interrupted and we’re all hopelessly waiting there because there is nowhere else to go. I am towards the back and this girl decides she wants to be first to get onto the imaginary train that was going to never going to pick us up. So she shoved her way to the front.

I SEE YOU, GIRL. I SEE YOU.

I SEE YOU, GIRL. I SEE YOU.

All aboard the magic bus, bitch because that train ain’t gone show up for the next fifteen minutes. But I see you’re ready.

She was elbowed away by someone else when the train FINALLY came. Ha.

It’s like that panic that people feel when boarding a plane. Regardless of the fact that there is a seat assigned to you, and that in order to miss a flight you have to not even be at the airport at departure time, people push up and create a blob of carry-on luggage and humanity by the gate. Relax, darling. You’ll be a chair in the sky anyway!

Also, a simple trip to the supermarket might suddenly go south.

I’m behind a girl who is about to pay and I hear this commotion behind me and bam! Someone decides to place two beer cans in front of her. Some other man comes behind me, as if he’s trying to save the day: “Hey! Before cutting you have to ask the people to see if they’re ok with it!”
Because you were going to get in line anyway, right?
Whatever. I’m not stupid.
So the savior turns to me, with a ratchet smile and was all “Do you mind if I go in front of you? We only have two beers!”.
“Well, there’s a line for 10 articles or less. What if I say it’s not ok?”
And then, I get the murderous look.
They chose this line because they saw two girls. Two lone females who surely would not put up a fight.
I realize what is going on and was about to fly into a rage because I felt so hopeless. A simple little thing like respecting people in line, something so basic, they can’t do.
It’s like…seriously, bro? Where in your DNA is it encoded so we may pull that bit out? Also, while we’re at it, I’d fix your face because it’s so butt-fucking ugly.

No one complained. No one did anything. Not even the cashier.
Welcome to the world of cultural differences. Don’t die of a coronary malfunction set on by ire.
All in the bordel that is organized chaos.

Dat French Language

(Get comfortable)

It’s as if the words “I speak French” are an invitation to ridiculous phrases like: “Ooh lala” or “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” or, my personal favorite: “Parlez-vous français?” (or “françois”, it all depends, really).

French is that one language that everyone feels entitled to. It’s like those people that say “Yeah, I have a varied heritage- I’m 1/8 Irish, ¼ German, and 2/7 Native American” and yet you can’t even name the region said ancestors come from (this, by the way, grates my nerves: you’re not a mélange, you’re a modern human being feeling entitled. Congratulations).

Boo, you whore!

Everyone has been in close contact with French- it’s been butchered, romanticized as all-things French, and overexposed…in my most humble opinion.

It’s the language of diplomacy, yes, but to really master it, it takes more than a few phrases: it takes grammar, it takes history (and a rudimentary understanding of diachrony), it takes fillers…and it takes passion, dedication, and perseverance.

The single hardest thing a human being will ever do is to learn how to read. Once that has been conquered, the brain is nice and ready to process information- language in this broad case.
When learning a new language, it’s like learning to speak and read and write aaaaall over again.
We are torn down and re-learn everything bit by bit. One may start by the simple souds from the alphabet and remember it via games or other tactics (I, for example, memorized the sounds of the French alphabet thanks to a my first French professor who recited it as a drill sergeant singing a cadence- we were to follow). Others may jump in and start learning with phrases and putting the pieces together. If you want to get fancy, I know people with thorough knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet and that’s just how they figured out what everything sounded like once put together.

And, oh! You have to find your voice again!

Am I perfect? By no means. But another thing that comes with finding your voice in a foreign language is to adopt a personality. And Parisian Me is one condescending little bitch.

Les rageux vont rager!

Anyway, I feel like French, as I said earlier, has been romanticized to the point that it gives it this ethereal quality.

Even though I do enjoy speaking in French because it has been a challenge to master it and find my voice in it, French just became a vehicular language. It’s my language of business, school, of everyday stuff. It’s not what I whisper to a lover (and quite frankly, if anyone ever busted out some French in bed, I’d ask him to leave. Or at least be quiet).

French is what I curtly reply to the lady pushing me in the métro, French is what I use when I weigh my vegetables at the market, what I use to tell the plumber that my faucet is leaky…there’s no glamour in French anymore!

And in a very twisted and perverted way, I like this! I fucking love it. I wanted so badly to immerse myself in this language that “sounded kinda cool!” when I was sixteen and visiting Paris for the first time. I wanted to know exactly what people were saying, why their vowels sounded funny, why it was still so similar to my mother tongue (Spanish) and yet had so many words that I recognized from English and Lord knows how many other languages!

And now I do! And I see how gritty the language can be. How hurtful, how deep it can wound and offend, and also how uplifting, how quirky and lighthearted.

So if you’re on a mission to learn French, do not be disappointed when you realize real people speak it.

There’s a side to French that most people fail to acknowledge: Street French. There are no “vous” here, no pleasantries. Here you get words to describe women that range from the cute like “nana” to “gazelle” to “meuf” to “tcheub”.
It’s this language, this tchatche that makes French, not your textbook.
Paris is multifaceted and so is its language.

Language is our direct link to history. It’s breathing, latent, alive.
This is what makes learning French so challenging- you have a language that is hyper-kinetic. It vibrates, it evolves, it morphs!
Due to its vocalic system and the elimination of diphthongs, among other things, it is the farthest romance language from Latin.

Sorry to those who believe Portuguese is. Or Romanian- it still holds its very Latin roots even if it’s got massive amounts of Slavic influence.

All of these beautiful and fascinating things have come together through centuries to forge a language that is so colorful, so comprehensive and ever-changing and you just better run behind it trying to keep up!

So next time you feel tempted to say “Oui-oui” and any other silly phrase to a French speaker- hold your tongue! You might get a nasty response. After all, it comes with the territory.