“Bonjour, Hello”

We were enjoying our holiday trip to Montreal but it was not without it hitches. Upon crossing the border we stopped off at an unstaffed “Welcome Centre” only to find that all the announcements were in French. Now suspecting that most people stopping off at the Centre would probably be visitors who might not be native Quebecians would lead one to think that publications would appeal to the language of visitors, but c’est la vie.

However it was great to see that everywhere we went after my perfunctory, “bonjour” and “parlez-vous anglais”, we were able to engage in easily understood english so much so that I wanted to try out some of my college French only to be told that it would be easier if we spoke in English…OK…c’est la vie.

Among the great restaurants, interesting museums and delightful cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, the highlight of our trip was our visit to Jardin Botanique. This magnificent garden, the third largest of its kind in the world sits next to the Olympic Park and features gardena from across the globe including Alpine, Japanese and Chinese designs, perennial and vegetable, herb and spice and a biocultural diversity centre that had kids soaking in our earthly diversity like a hummingbird draws in nectar…ah, c’est la vie

As we meanered through the gardens, and we approached a staff member for a question we were met with “Bonjour, Hello”, a greeting that immediately told us that we were welcome in French or English. I did not have to fool around with my French translation skills but knew that this person was interested in helping me to feel comfortable rather than making me find the right way to connect…c’est la vie

It made me think about how I could do better with my clients by recognizing where they are coming from and doing my best to reach out to them in their native tongue, which can easily mean being aware of their professional focus, current workconcerns or the successes they want to share. Being bi-lingual in your professional and personal life will help you connect better to others and help them to see that you are truly interested in them as people. …c’est la vie

“Au revoir, Good by”

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