manger tarte au humble (eating humble pie)
I had a layover in Ethiopia on my way from Paris to Togo, so I sat on the floor with my laptop and wrote the following list: Ten Ways To Spot an American in Paris
Once I got to the guest house, I found that the chef and the groundskeeper, two Togolese guys in their 20's, only speak French.
I didn't realize how rusty my French was until, in less than 24 hours, I managed to tell them
-"Your WiFi is unemployed" instead of saying "Your WiFi isn't working"
-"I have a wife (j'ai une femme)" instead of "I'm hungry (j'ai faim)"
-"Aren't I beautiful?" instead of "Isn't the weather is nice?"
For breakfast, they served me scrambled eggs, a mug of hot water, a basket with tea bags and instant coffee packets, as well as a container of sugar cubes. There was also a small bowl with yellow powder that tasted slightly salty. I thought it was Parmesan cheese. So I sprinkled it on my eggs.
In the afternoon, when they again served me the mysterious powder with hot water and tea bags, I realized it was creamer. Which would explain why the groundskeeper looked at me so curiously while I was eating breakfast.
Before leaving for Togo, I had read recommended food preparation for Americans to avoid getting sick from food-borne illnesses here. There are the obvious guidelines like, use bottled water to brush your teeth, don't eat raw vegetables and only eat fruit that you can peel.
After dinner, the chef asked what I'd like for dessert.
"Nothing, thanks," I said.
Because I was already full of humble pie.