Anna sometimes felt she had missed something because she’d never been at university. Le voilà, as the French say, what do you know, then it happened: Anna is sitting at her desk and writes her first thesis on Guy de Maupassant’s illnesses. And take an expert’s word for it: that was certainly university level, second or third semester in Germany. And that in French! Suddenly you find yourself doing the most extraordinary things!
It’s all part of the deal somehow. You want to get involved in unfamiliar cultures and alien environments, and you reach your limits because you’re doing quite extraordinary things. In one international school, Mike had to cook for 60 people. Yuck! It wasn’t just horrible because cooking is not exactly his strongest point, but also irritating from his point of view because he was already aware of that limitation. He had to elegantly manoeuvre around the obstacle, i.e. find some way out of it.
You can overcome or stretch your limitation, or you can just work around them. That’s a very French thing, by the way. One of their favourite words is se débrouiller (pronounce se daybrooyay): to manage things resourcefully. It was one of the first things our teacher explained to us: the French are débrouillards – „resourceful people“.