Tuesday, February 05, 2008


I'd been waiting for this moment since I arrived in Paris....maybe even for my whole life. I was starting to think it would never come. But I waited. Quietly, patiently, diligently and with the unspoken confidence that eventually....it would come.
And come to pass it DID. Yesterday the opportunity presented itself in more glory than I could have EVER hoped for.
I compared myself to Bruce Lee in the same sentence.
In French.
In conversation.
To a group of strangers.

Kung Fu Dana is BACK!

PLACE: French class
Beaten down American girl, 30s, with Ninja roots, angry, alone, nowhere to go but UP, looking for any opportunity to pounce.
French Interrogator, woman, 50s, with balls of steel and a mouth to match
15 foreign witnesses

I have gotten used to things changing at the drop of the hat here due to the great language divide. I'll feel like the queen of the world one moment but it doesn't take much to send me reeling down in a fit of confusion. I call it the retardation roller coaster and I never know when the next giant hill is coming. Sometimes I understand a lot of what my French Interrogator (aka teacher) says, other times I come up blank and just give the vacant stare look right through her. Based on her reaction to me, I'm pretty good at the "special place" open mouthed stare. She usually calls me the American fish in an aquarium then.

So yesterday I was swimming along in a particularly low wave of understanding when the class subject turned to sports. We had to go around the room and say what sport was common in our country of origin. And it clicked. I couldn't WAIT until it was my turn...yes yes yes, Italy and football, NEXT, England and rugby, OK OK, NEXT, Australia, India, Spain, GOT IT...NEXT.....finally my turn comes and French Interrogator seizes the opportunity to make a very sarcastic statement about Americans and their "own" football.


I look her square in the eye and say loudly and confidently "Oui...mais non pour moi. Je joue LE KUNG FU. Je pratique LE KUNG FU. Je suis comme BRUCE LEE."
"Tu connais Bruce Lee?" (You know Bruce Lee?) I innocently demand, driving my point home and turning the interrogation around. French Interrogator rolls her eyes but I read a shred of fear in them. I know what fear looks like, I happen to be a master of it. I decide to throw her another curve ball and further prove my point.
"J'aime donner un coup de pied.....BEAUCOUP." (I like to kick.....a LOT)

Game over, France.
Two points NEW YORK.

She leaves me alone for the rest of class and though I still don't understand what she says, I sit there with my victory smile for this one small battle won. After class the Italian guy in my class leans over and asks "ees thees Kung Fu thing true?"
"YUP" I say. And with that, I close my books and waltz out the door.



jessica said...

dude, i'm so sorry to report (or am i?) that i'm on the retardation roller coaster right behind you ....

jessica said...

dude, i'm so sorry to report (or am i?) that i'm on the retardation roller coaster right behind you ....

kirsten said...

Oh my little gemini friend :(