Into the Story
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Episode 50: Mission in Paris
Accent: British (London)
In this episode, Luke shares a humorous and frustrating experience he had in Paris. His wife left their daughter’s bag with an important item, her teddy bear, on a bus. Luke embarked on a comical mission to retrieve it. He encountered unhelpful bus drivers, language barriers, and bureaucratic delays, all while racing against time to rescue the precious item.
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[00:00:00] Bree: Hello, everyone. Welcome to Into the Story. I am your host Bree. And today we have a story from Luke a teacher podcaster and comedian from London. But the story that he’s going to tell today is set
[00:00:36] in Paris. It’s a city he loves, but sometimes it can be a little bit. Parisian a bit difficult. A bit too much bureaucracy. When his daughter loses something very important, he goes on a mission to find it. a mission that takes him into different parts of Paris.
[00:00:58] Luke: it was a mission into the unknown. It felt dramatic. I felt like Liam Neeson in the film Taken.
[00:01:05] Bree: Luke story has a mix of humor, suspense, and a lot of determination.
[00:01:14] If you haven’t already then subscribed into the story so that you never miss a new episode. And thanks.
[00:01:24] And now it’s time for five words and expressions from Luke’s story. The first. To not fit in. If you don’t fit in. It means that you don’t feel like you belong or are accepted and a specific group. Or a situation. For example, I didn’t feel like I fit in at the new job because I didn’t know anyone there. Or in a foreign country it’s common not to fit in at first because you don’t speak the language and there are cultural differences. To not fit in.
[00:02:13] Next to punch something or someone. to punch is a strong hit that you make with a close fist. So when you close your hand and you hit something, this is a punch. For example in boxing the opponents punch each other. Or she gave her friend a light punch on the shoulder to get her attention. A punch.
[00:02:49] Next to be seedy or dodgy. A dodgy or seedy part of town is a part of town that’s not very nice and perhaps unsafe. Usually there’s crime, it’s not very clean and it’s considered not a nice place to go. For example, the seedy part of town had a lot of abandoned buildings or walking through a dodgy neighborhood at night can be risky. To be seedy or dodgy. Next to turn up somewhere. So to turn up somewhere is simply another way of saying you arrived somewhere or appeared at a specific location or event. For example, I’ll turn up at the restaurant around seven for our reservation. Or despite the rain, many people turned up at the outdoor concert. to turn up somewhere.
[00:03:55] And lastly to be fast asleep. So to be fast asleep means that you’re in a deep sleep. And it’s often used to describe someone who is sleeping soundly and not easily awakened. For example, after a long day at work, she was fast asleep within minutes of getting into bed. Or the baby was fast asleep. And nothing could wake her up during her nap. to be fast asleep
[00:04:29] As always, if you would like the full vocabulary list, a transcript and a quiz. Then visit our website. You can find a link and the show notes. Okay. It’s that time? Let’s get into the story.
[00:04:45] Luke: So I’m Luke, I’m from England originally. Uh, but these days I live in Paris. And, um, you know, I guess when, when you say to people that you live in Paris, people instantly get a, a certain idea of what that means they picture in their minds probably something from a film. Emily in Paris or something like that. Ratatouille, or Midnight in Paris, or one of the, you know, the Woody Allen film, or taken with Liam Neeson, which is the sort of darker version of Paris. But people get an idea of what Paris means and, uh, reality of living here is often a little different to the Hollywood version Um, and uh, I still don’t know to what extent I fit in in this city. I dunno what it is.
[00:05:36] Maybe I’m too English but Paris, yeah, it’s fantastic. It’s very beautiful. beautiful. It’s a vibrant capital city. There’s great food. It’s full of interesting things.
[00:05:46] But on the other hand, Paris, as as many of your listeners will be aware, has a certain stereotype about it, that it can be a bit unhelpful and people can just be Parisian, you know?
[00:06:00] Um, it’s a quite a stressful city. It can be kind of seedy and, um, a bit, uh, dodgy in some areas. And, um, somehow just generally Paris can be very complicated live here. There are strikes, public holidays that take you by surprise. The bureaucracy and paperwork, Um, and you know, I still get lost in the city quite a lot
[00:06:27] Bree: Luke loves living in Paris. Of course it has its problems like any city, right. But there’s also the issue of the language now in Paris, people speak French. Of course. And they are very, let’s say strict about the way people speak French. According to Luke. There are only two levels. Perfect. And not good enough.
[00:07:01] Luke: you speak French uh, people will speak English to you and they’re very happy to switch to English, and in fact they will switch to English the a bit too quickly sometimes, where go in and you say, and because you haven’t said it like the perfect way. Bonjour or whatever, you know, if you haven’t quite made that R sound just right, you know, if there’s a little bit of an accent, they’ll all, they’ll in instantly switch to English. Hi, how can I help you? And you’re just like, okay, all right.
[00:07:34] So it’s perfect French or not good enough. maybe I’m, um, being a bit too sensitive about it, but who knows? So this is the context in which I live, right? And added to that, Is the fact that I’m also a dad here now Paris. Um, these days we have two kids. Um, our second child was born just a couple of months ago. Uh, our first child, uh, our daughter, five years old now. Uh, but the story I’m gonna tell you happened a couple of years ago when she was about three. Okay. So my daughter is very cute, you know, she’s adorable, but sometimes especially at the end of the day it is easier when she’s asleep. As parents, we do this, right. We, We, you know, we bring children into the world and we make every preparation for them. And then all we wanna do is just make them unconscious again, you know?
[00:08:37] Luke: And, um, getting a child to go to sleep can be a challenge. It can be a bit like mission impossible. certain things can be vital like routines. But also the soft cuddly toy. Right? The teddy bear or in France they call it a doudou. My daughter has a doudou, and she really needs doudou at bedtime. If she doesn’t have it, won’t sleep. And not only that, it’s just total game over. She has a huge meltdown everyone’s lives are ruined.Uh, if my daughter doesn’t have her doudou.
[00:09:14] so a couple of years ago, I just got a text from my wife. It was like the end of the afternoon. I got a text from my wife. It said, Oh no, I left our daughter’s bag on the bus and I thought, all right, well, It’s all right. It was a nice bag, but it’s okay. We can get another one. There’s a billion shops in Paris that sell bags for kids. They charge you too much money, but it’s all right. And she said, no, you don’t understand. Her doudou was in it. Right. This was an, this is the worst information. You know, this is like, this is worse than losing her passport.
[00:09:54] Emergency. Right. Okay. This is serious. So I had to go and find it. It was a like a huge mission. I had to go on a mission Paris at the end of the day in a heat wave to get this dooo. I didn’t know if I was going to actually get it back as well. So it was a mission into the unknown. It felt dramatic. I felt like Liam Neeson in the film Taken. It’s extremely, extremely serious film set in Paris.
[00:10:27] Um, and unfortunately I don’t have the skillset of Liam Neeson. You know, I dunno if that would’ve been useful if I could have just punched my way through Paris until I found doudou. don’t think that was really realistic, but you know, it felt like, I dunno who you are. You know, I dunno where you are. I know you’re my daughter’s doudou. I will find you. I, my daughter will sleep tonight. You know, it felt kind of like that, so, right. It seemed very simple, my wife’s gave me a very specific instructions. She said, you need to go to the Terminus for bus number 30. driver bus 3 5 1 7 has the bag. He’ll give it to you.
[00:11:14] Bree: Luke has a mission. He needs to get his daughter’s doodoo back, her stuffed animal, the fluffy little toy that she needs to sleep.
[00:11:24] He feels like a character from a very dramatic movie called Taken. The actor, Liam Neeson plays a dad. Who has to get his daughter back. Who’s been kidnapped. Who’s being taken. So with the energy of Liam Neeson. Luke jumps on his e-bike.
[00:11:42] Luke: So I had to go wait in the street the place where the number 30 bus stops at the end of its route, the terminus, right? I had to go there and meet one of the drivers. And the bus terminus for number 30 was in Pigalle, right? Uh, Pigalle is a seedy, dodgy part of town, it’s kind of like the red light district. There are various establishments there. which various products and services. How can I describe them? It’s not family friendly, let’s just put it that way. be honest, it is the sort of place where a person would go to stand in the street to wait and meet someone who’s gonna give them a bag.
[00:12:31] And I rode up there to Pigalle. I parked, and I waited and watched the people in the street the sort of people who hang out in the street, there are just people begging, you know, or people trying to sell you things, or there are just pick pockets or as I mentioned, people standing outside certain establishments who want to persuade you to come in. So I had to stand in this environment waiting for the number 30 bus.
[00:12:58] A number 30 bus arrived. But it wasn’t the 3, 5, 1 7. the driver of the bus. He, he stopped the bus. He got out and lit a cigarette and stood there outside the bus with a cigarette. And I thought, alright, I’ll talk to him. talk to the bus driver. I’ll get some intel. Maybe he knows about the bag. I’ll use my French. It’s okay. I’ve been living here for a few years now. It’ll be fine. the driver was a typical tired Parisian bus driver on his break smoking, So I went over to him and I was like, okay. Um,
[00:13:39] [speaking French]
[00:13:52] I couldn’t remember the word for bus driver, So you know, I’ve basically started rambling in his face in really bad French, saying, uh, I need to speak with the, um, Because my, you know, my daughter, she really needs her do-do and, and she doesn’t sleep very well without her. Do-do, and could you, could, would you be able to, you know, this and the more I talked to him in this manner, the more his face just Sort of almost folded in on itself in front of me. I can’t ex without being able to show your listeners, uh, what his face looked like. When I was just saying all these things to him, it was kind of like, I don’t know how to describe it. It was like he looked like a cat backing outta a room. .
[00:14:35] It was just like this.
[00:14:35] His face just went back and I just suddenly thought, oh my God. Did I say bonsoir at the start of this interaction? Because in Paris, if you don’t say bonjour or bonsoir
[00:14:45] you say anything, then that is the height of rudeness.
[00:14:48] And I realized I hadn’t said bonsoir to him. And he just looked at me and I just went, uh,
[00:14:58] and. all this, he just went, he just took the cigarettes out of his mouth and he just went qua like that, So extremely unsuccessful. Uh, bit of communication.
[00:15:12] And so, you know, his response that he took his cigarette, which he hadn’t finished, threw it on the ground, got back in his bus, started the engine, and moved the bus 10 meters down the road. Stopped the bus, turned off the engine, got out and lit another cigarette,
[00:15:33] And he and I was standing there, he was now 10 meters down the road, smoking again,
[00:15:42] Um, so. He basically escaped from me down the road 10 meters in his bus.
[00:15:47] Bree: luke just doesn’t have that Liam Neeson energy that he had imagined having when he started this mission. And now the Parisian bus driver has escaped from him. So he’s waiting there on the side of the road in a not very nice area of Paris. And then.
[00:16:04] Luke: I got, then I got a text, I got a new text from my wife with new information. Apparently I was at the wrong bus terminus, in fact, I should have been waiting at a different terminus. And apparently there was another terminus after this terminus, and I thought, wait a minute, does the word terminus mean what I think it means? A terminus, that means that’s the end. Right? How can you have another terminus after that? So, you know, and then I just thought, okay, this is Paris.
[00:16:31] The rules are different. You So, okay. I found the location of the second terminus. It was further down the street. Uh, away from the slightly weird part of town in a slightly nicer area. This terminus was, for example, it was in front of a fountain, which is already better.
[00:16:51] Bree: Luke finds the second Terminus and He standing in front of this nice fountain, waiting for a bus to arrive.
[00:17:00] Luke: and eventually another number 30 turned up. It wasn’t the 3, 5 1 7. I spoke to this driver. And this, this guy was like way friendlier. Everything went much more smoothly. I think maybe it was context, maybe ’cause I was standing in front of a fountain, you know, instead of being in front of some weird perverse cinema, I, I learned that I’d missed the 3, 5, 1, 7. Okay. And, um, the 3 5 1 7 Was actually gonna be at the bus station. So there’s not only is there a terminus and then another terminus, there’s also the bus station, which is where all the buses go and that’s where they live. It’s like Thomas the tank engine, but for buses in France. Right. There’sSo, so I was like, okay, I’ll go to the bus station. Where’s the bus station? The driver said it’s it’s near the Eiffel Tower. And I said, right, I know exactly where that is. so he said to me, what’s the problem? And I said, oh, it’s my daughters dodo. And he’s like, oh my God. Oh [speaking French]. He said, oh, that’s serious. So he understood. He said, quick get on the bus. I’ll take you straight there. I’m going straight to the bus station. I’ve finished my route. I’m going direct to the bus station, get on the bus. We don’t have to deal with any passengers. Get on. I was like, yes, let’s go. Then I was like, what about my bike? ’cause I’ve got my bike here. He said, don’t worry, put the bike on the bus. Suddenly everything was going really, really well. And I mean this was very exciting for me because one thing I love is putting forms of transport on other forms of transport. Right. I mean, that’s what happened when I originally moved to, to Paris. I, um, uh, I drove England to Paris, went through the, the, the channel tunnel on a train, I drove the car onto a train and then that train went through a tunnel under the sea, which was super exciting. And I had a bike in the back of the car. So there was a bike in the car on a train in a tunnel. It was like inception for transport, right?
[00:19:06] So Right. Fantastic. Put the bike on the bus. The bus was empty.
[00:19:09] It was just me and the driver, Fantastic. I’ll sit at the front ’cause the driver and me. We are best friends now. We’re gonna be friends, we’ll talk during the journey. I’ll practice my French. So I went and sat at the, the front. He didn’t talk to me at all. He closed his window. He just drove the bus and I just sat there at the front of the bus, like a boy. Right. Just, you know, watching the world go by, turning around to just check that my bike was still okay at the back.
[00:19:40] Eventually we got to the bus station, And the bus driver, you know, dropped me off and he said, okay, you’ll have to wait here 15 minutes. Everything in Paris takes 15 minutes or 15 days. One of the two. So he said, just wait here 15 minutes. He said, you have to wait here for a responsable. So a responsable is basically a manager,
[00:20:04] Bree: Luke is waiting outside of the bus station for the manager. He can see in through the glass, into an office. And there is the bag inside that bag is his daughter’s doudou. So he waits 15 minutes come and go. He continues waiting another 15 minutes.
[00:20:24] Luke: Eventually the responsable came and and she said, okay. Right. I explained the situation. I said, that bag there, it’s my daughter’s bag. It’s got the doudou in it. Hmm. And she was like, okay, you’ll just need to wait 15 minutes because I’ll need to do some paper work. And I was like oh god! please just gimme the bag. You know, you don’t understand, you don’t understand how important this is.
[00:20:44] Bree: Luke is so close to achieving this mission. But it’s 9:30pm, the sun is going down and he is imagining total chaos back home at his apartment where his daughter should be going to sleep by now. But he waits patiently. Outside of the bus station as the manager does the proper paperwork.
[00:21:07] Luke: then eventually I was led into the station. It was very nice. Everyone was very nice. You know, everyone said bonsoir to me. I said bonsoir to them. Bonsoir bonsoir okay, so here we are in the, in the bus station. This is cool. And I sat down and, and someone offered me a glass of water. And so I sat there and I, this is great, this is wonderful, but can we just do this quickly please? And I sat there. She, then she tried to log onto the computer. In order to do the, the paperwork,
[00:21:37] Bree: The manager starts to log onto her computer to do more paperwork. But of course the computer is not Turning on properly. Luke sits nervously looking at the manager. As it gets later and later, and as the manager makes all sorts of French noises.
[00:21:57] [speaking French] which means that this, it’s breaking my feet. And I was like, looking under the table, like, what? And the bag was just there and I was just thinking, okay, okay. It’s all right. I’m a patient person, uh, So I couldn’t just take the bag because, you know, I could have been anyone, you know, could have cycled across Paris in a heat wave to steal this rabbit, you know, so all the paperwork had to be done. Eventually she did it all and she printed it out. printed out pages of paper, double-sided, which I had to sign. I had to sign every page. And in, in, in France, you have to write lu et approuve and then sign it, and lu et approuve means read and approved. Okay? So I, I signed, read, and approved. Signed, but not understood. I and then eventually she handed the bag to me. I opened it. There was the doudou. I was like, yes. Luke runs out of the bus station. This is his moment. His moment to be the hero. It’s nighttime now. He jumps on his bike and rides across Paris.
[00:23:16] Luke: Right, I’ve gotta get back. Now. This is it. I’ve gotta go back and save the day. So I, you know, right.
[00:23:21] Flew back through the city, you know, like Liam Neeson, Got home, smashed the door down. I didn’t actually smash the door down. Um, got in was like, right, I’ve got, here’s the doudou and my daughter was just fast asleep. My wife was like totally serene. and I was like,
[00:23:43] But luckily she was asleep. Everything is okay in the morning.
[00:23:49] She was delighted to find her, doudou next to her on her pillow.
[00:23:54] Bree: Luke says that his daughter no longer needs her doodoo to sleep every night. But that little rabbit with now very worn ears and feet that are almost falling off, is still her favorite. My son, who’s just a little bit younger than Luke’s daughter doesn’t have a stuffed animal, but he does have a blankie.
[00:24:20] That’s what little kids usually call blanket.
[00:24:24] And I’ve actually never asked him about his blankie, which he calls Blinky black. So I asked him. uh, what is blankie black? What? What is blankie black?
[00:24:36] Little Boy: Um, is my blanky. My bla is black, my blanky. And do you use, what do you use it for? For, for to sleep. And Daddy reads When? When Daddy reads me a book. Yeah.
[00:24:53] Bree: And what if you didn’t have Blanky Black? What would happen?
[00:24:56] Little Boy: I’ll be super, super and super, super. Super, super, super, super, super, super, super sad.
[00:25:08] Bree: Okay. Well, I think I need to make sure to not lose blankie black and he time soon. If you would like to know more about Luke, then you can visit his website, TeacherLuke.co.uk, and also his podcast, which is insightful and hilarious. And we actually recorded an episode for Luke’s English podcast.So, if you would like to hear that conversation.
[00:25:37] Where we talk about four different things that you can do to start using English at home right now with your kids. And just to hear us laughing about different experiences with our own kids.
[00:25:48] Then I recommend that you go check out that episode right now. That’s Luke’s English podcast. And I will leave you a link to that in the show notes.
[00:25:56] If you enjoy today’s story, then please share it with a friend who is learning English. And if you would like to support into the story, then please leave us a five star rating and review. It really helps us reach new listeners and helps us to keep producing these stories for you.
[00:26:16] Little Boy: Until next time.
[00:26:18] I hope you have a good week.
[00:26:21] Or at least.
[00:26:22] A good story to tell.
Quote of the episode
“As parents, we bring children into the world, and we make every preparation for them. And in many cases, it takes a long time to get pregnant. And when the child arrives, it’s a huge celebration. Then all we want to do is just make them unconscious again”
Words & expressions of the episode
In order of appearence in the episode.
* Key vocabulary mentioned in the episode
*To not fit in: When you don’t feel like you belong or are accepted in a specific group or situation. Examples: “I felt like I didn’t fit in at the new job because I didn’t know anyone there.” or “In a foreign country, it’s common to not fit in at first due to language and cultural differences.”
To be cuddly (a cuddly toy): Something soft and huggable, like a stuffed animal.
Examples: “My teddy bear is so cuddly; I like to hug it when I’m feeling sad.” or “Children often sleep with cuddly toys for comfort.”
Teddy bear (doudou in French): A type of stuffed animal, usually resembling a bear, that is soft and huggable. Examples: “I gave my niece a teddy bear for her birthday, and she loves it.” or “When I was a child, I used to take my teddy bear with me everywhere.”
Meltdown: When someone loses control of their emotions or becomes very upset. Often used to talk about young children. Examples: “After a long day at daycare, she had a meltdown and started crying.” or “During the test, he had a meltdown because he couldn’t answer the questions.”
To charge (or to be charged) too much/too little: When the price for something is set at an unfair or incorrect level. Examples: “The restaurant charged us too much for the meal; it was way more expensive than it should have been.” or “They charged too little for the concert tickets, so they sold out quickly.”
*Punch: A strong hit made with a closed fist, often used in sports or as a sign of aggression. Examples: “In boxing, a well-placed punch can knock out an opponent.” or “He gave a light punch on the shoulder to get his friend’s attention.”
*Seedy/Dodgy: A part of a town or city that is considered run-down, disreputable, or unsafe, often due to crime or lack of cleanliness. Examples: “The seedy part of town had a lot of abandoned buildings and a high crime rate.” or “Walking through dodgy neighborhoods at night can be risky due to safety concerns.”
Red light district: A neighborhood in some cities where there are many adult entertainment businesses, like strip clubs and brothels. Examples: “Amsterdam’s red light district is famous for its unique nightlife.” or “They decided to visit the red light district during their trip to explore the city’s culture.”
Let’s just put it that way: A phrase used to simplify or clarify a statement. Examples: “She didn’t like the movie, so let’s just put it that way.” or “The cake wasn’t the best I’ve had, to put it that way.”
Pickpockets: People who steal from others by secretly taking things from their pockets or bags. Examples: “Be careful in crowded places; there are often pickpockets looking for opportunities to steal.” or “The pickpocket managed to take my wallet without me noticing.”
Persuade: To convince someone to do or believe something. Examples: “He tried to persuade his friends to go to the concert with him.” or “She used facts and arguments to persuade her parents to let her stay out later.”
Slightly: A little bit, but not significantly so. Examples: “The weather today is slightly nicer than it was yesterday, but it’s still quite cold.” or “ The new restaurant is slightly nicer than the old one, but the menu is similar.”
*To turn up: To arrive or appear at a specific place or event. Examples: “I’ll turn up at the restaurant around 7:00 PM for our reservation.” or “Despite the rain, many people turned up for the outdoor concert.”
Perverse: Acting in a way that goes against what is considered normal or reasonable.
Examples: “His perverse sense of humor often makes people uncomfortable.” or “She had a perverse desire to do the opposite of what everyone expected.”
Take you: To accompany or go with someone to a particular place. Examples: “I can take you to the airport tomorrow morning if you need a ride.” or “She offered to take me to the store because I didn’t have a car.”
To deal with: To manage or handle a situation. Examples: “In my job, I have to deal with difficult customers from time to time.” or “Fortunately, we don’t have to deal with any passengers on this cargo flight.”
Inception (movie): A science fiction movie directed by Christopher Nolan, known for its complex and dream-related plot.
Fly somewhere (figurative): To travel to a place quickly. Examples: “I need to fly to New York for a business meeting next week.” or “In my dreams, I can fly anywhere I want, exploring new worlds.”
Smash down a door: To forcefully break or open a door, often with a loud noise. Examples: “The firefighters had to smash down the door to rescue the people trapped inside the burning building.” or “He got locked out of his own house and had to smash down the door to get in.”
*Fast asleep: Being in a deep sleep, often used to describe someone who is sleeping soundly and not easily awakened. Examples: “After a long day at work, she was fast asleep within minutes of getting into bed.” or “The baby was fast asleep, and nothing could wake her up during her nap.”
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Luke from Luke’s English Podcast in his studio.
Meet Luke, a teacher, comedian and podcaster from London. He’s been creating podcast episodes for over 14 years and has more than 20 years of teaching English. His podcast, Luke’s English Podcast, is both hilarious and insightful – a fantastic resource to help listeners improve their English! Learn more about Luke and his podcast at https://teacherluke.co.uk/