French classes started again this week. Term 4, Saturday afternoons, 3.30-5.30pm. This should come as no surprise but I have always loved the romance, culture and history of Paris and the French language; so I decided that French classes would be step 1 of ‘Mission Move to Paris’. But I didn’t actually enrol until I became the proud mama of Petite Paris B&B. The B&B gave me the final kick up the ‘derriere’.
As the medium between guest and host whereby I often must contact hosts about their apartment, service or other minor detail on behalf of an aussie guest; I really wanted to communicate with them in their native tongue. Not that we have trouble communicating; our hosts are all wonderfully bilingual and speak English (on varying levels of course). I just think it’s nice to return the courtesy.
I love my French classes even though 1 year on and I still don't understand the french. How long does it take before you can actually understand and construct a sentence?? I can vaguely 'comprendre' but only when it's broken, spoken very sloooo......ooowly, and only in class. Of course in class it's all so easy to get a big head. But real life exchange is so different. Can't tell you how many times I walk out of class feeling tres french and cocky, head to the video store, hire a french flick and then sit on my couch completed stumped, baffled and completely de-flatted....*Sigh
Love that quote by my favourite 'Quote Person' Mark Twain:
In paris they simply stared at me when I spoke to them in French, I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language'.
While a Parisian would thoroughly disapprove, I can see where he is coming from. Nothing sounds as it is spelt and there are so many word linkages; 5 words sounds like 1. Aaah!
Now let me assure you my Paris bound travellers, communicating with our Parisian B&B hosts while staying in their apartments is also easy peasy. Trust me. Your host will fall under one of four categories: fluent English; good English; basic English or mime artist.
Do I need to write that I’m kidding??
Ok Ok there are 2 lovely hosts who are non-english speaking but who do just fine for themselves and will find all sorts of means to communicate. In fact some guests believed their stay was made richer somehow. I suppose it does takes a lot more than words to create, fulfilling, strong relationships and that non verbal taps into a more intuitive emotionally bonding experience.
But seeing as you’re (fingers crossed) off to Paris wouldn’t it be nice to be able to return the courtesy and speak with your host in their native tongue as well? Many of our hosts offer basic or extensive french lessons while your in their home. An ideal way to learn the language, brush up or expand your vocabulary.
Well it's back to my French studies (I was a REAL dumb-dumb in last saturday's class).