I have a roommate named Valentin (but pronounced like the holiday) whose mother is visiting from Cameroon for the next four months. When I came downstairs to fill my water bottle, they were speaking in a foreign language that I couldn’t quite place. When he and his mother stopped speaking, I said, “Valentin, what language are you speaking?” He said, “French.” I am thinking that it was the African dialect that threw me off, because I did not recognize it as such. So, I say the only sentence I know in French off the top of my head…. “Francais c’nest pas comfortable pour moi” (French is not comfortable for me). From behind, I hear this CACKLE as his mother just loses it and starts shaking, she’s laughing so hard. I turn around and she gives me a high five.
It’s the first time we’ve really connected on something, because she does not speak more than a few words in English. We have mostly communicated through gestures, like “here’s the one button you press to turn on the dishwasher.”
Laughter filled the kitchen, lighting us all up from the inside.