I am in my 1st year of a PhD in France. I can barely communicate in French. I had to visit the administrative office where 1 out of 3 knows English (call her E) and the other two speaks only French (call them F1 and F2). I asked F1 how do I get the train and bus travel card, using by which students can travel in subsidized rates. F1 gave me a form to fill up, I asked her if it is enough for the card (I had to use google translate to make her understand what I was asking for) and she said yes. Then E came and said me this is enough and asked me if I had a travel card. I said no, in fact I doubted the relevance of her question since I came for the exact thing she is asking. Then the following happens.
She said an immediate big NO. It is clear from her body language that she is not in a good mood. I was stunned and said I don't understand. Again a NO with a tone change and a big shake of head, went to her chair, put on her coat, said something in French with an angry NO again. Two of her colleagues came to the room (it was almost lunch time) and said something her in French looking at me. E was clearly angry and I felt like crying. She stormed out with F2. F1 was there, she took out an application by another student showing the copy of the card, she said me I had to apply the card from the railway station and then the university will make authorisation (google translate again). I thanked her and went out deeply shaken. In fact, one other student told me some days back that I had to go to the station for the application but I completely forgot that information at that moment. My adviser told me they were not the right people for my purpose (I didn't told her the whole tense scenario).
I couldn't stop thinking about it. I kept thinking that it may be because I annoyed them with my ignorance in their language and with my lack of time sense (it was almost lunch time). I tried to mentally justify E's actions. I put me in her place and I cannot justify her. I thought of writing her a letter how I felt. I understand that part of it is my mistake, I should have remembered an acquaintance telling me I had to take the form, I completely missed that.
What should have I done? Should I write her a letter saying how I felt and this is not the right way to react? Should I tell my adviser how I felt? May be its just me or my personality thereby making the scenario highly subjective, I feel myself a sensitive person, but I can't get over it. I wish to know if anyone had similar instances and how to deal with it.