As part of my wish to be a little more French, learning the language is a must. Or shall I say, relearning. I once was quite fluent in the language. This was back in high school and the culmination was a trip to Paris with a good friend. On day 3 or so, the majority of our cash (hey, this was the 90’s, cash was king!) for the trip was stolen from our safety deposit box which was in the basement of the hotel (a 2 star, quite shabby hotel near Pigalle). I was so angry at the staff that I made a great big argument right then and there… in French! It was probably far from grammatically correct, but I didn’t care, I had to explain what was going and a demand compensation.
As the years have gone by, my knowledge of the French language has however slowly evapourated. French TV-shows or movies are a a far too rare treat where I live and I have noticed that I become more and more lazy when I visit a French-speaking part of the world by always reverting to English. Plus the French, at least in Paris, have become better at English so there is less of a need to converse (or argue) with someone in French.
Roughly a year ago though, I felt it was a shame to waste what tittle French I still had left. So i decided to enroll in a refresher course in French. Boy, oh boy, I hardly managed more than two words the first lesson. Now however, I go to a weekly evening class and whilst I can’t say that I am fluent yet (far from it), it’s exciting to learn something new that is just for fun and not for work. My goal is to one day live in the City of Lights, even if it would only be part-time. For that, I really would like to speak French fluently (at least so that I can be able to explain to my grumpy neighbours that the dirty thumb prints in the elevator aren’t mine..).
In between my lessons, I like to listen to podcasts and that’s why I am giving a great big shout-out to French your way, a completely free podcast hosted by a delightful and friendly teacher Jessica, who is a native French speaker, living in Australia). Jessica’s podcast is available on Itunes and Stitcher. She gives weekly lessons, like you can’t say très délicieux, it’s just délicieux. She also has an excellent reading list with suggestions on what literature is appropriate to read depending on the level you are at. Whilst I have always been a fan of Tintin, it’s thanks to her that I am now (slowly) reading a tale about a with on Rue due Mouffetard. (The latter is apparently a real street in the fifth arrondissement in Paris; I looked it up.)
By the way, do you want to know what happened to the stolen cash-incident? After the heated discussion, we changed hotels to a nearby one (almost equally shabby, but no cash was stolen there) and were fully reimbursed by the staff from the previous hotel.
The excitement didn’t stop there though. I remember for example a fire drill one evening where the entire hotel was evacuated. (I have one very vivid memory of an elderly gentleman clutching his newly bought shirts and trying to rush down the narrow wooden stair case amongst the rest of us. The shirts, still in plastic bags, were the only things he had taken from his room. He didn’t want to leave them behind in case something would happen. Funny how tiny glimpses like that of another human being just stick with you like small, sweet memories.) Anyway, there was no real fire. I am sure the cook just had to much wine and forgot a crêpe on the stove or something else completely French. 😉
Want to share any tips on learning a language?