(Version française ici, merci)
I can see you smiling whilst reading this title, dear readers! We all know that every love story has its charming (and often very funny) moments. Especially when one of the individuals concerned doesn’t understand that they’re being courted.
I can’t resist humming for you a German song about a French girl “Aurélie so klappt das nie” (2004, Wir sind Helden).
Here are some bits in English:
(…) But Aurélie never gets it
Every night she wonders
when someone will fall in love with her.
Aurélie, it’s never going to work like that
You expect far too much
The Germans are such subtle flirts!
Aurélie, the men here really like you.
Look down the street – They’re all looking up at you
But you don’t notice because they ‘re not whistling
and if you whistle at them they run away
You gotta learn that around here, less is more. (…)
For my book project Bilingual Families: Bringing Up Children between Cultures (learn more here), I couldn’t resist asking parents about how they first met and how they managed the first few steps in their initial courtship. There were some lovely stories, particularly those which provided insight into the different cultural expectations and habits of each person.
Let’s look at Elise and Manuel’s story first, then Anne and Shaief’s, before turning finally to Suay and James.
Elise and Manuel: a French-Colombian couple
Elise “I remember how we met, here in Oxford, in a school for students who wanted to improve their English. I was astonished because you came closer, and closer, and closer – I had to step back, you were almost stuck on me. I kept stepping back while you kept talking and coming closer.” (she laughs)
Manuel “Yes, that’s right but totally normal for me. In Colombia, when we talk to women we get closer, there’s a natural proximity.”