So, I’ve been attempting to study the French language (again). Each week my French teacher comes to the house, greeted eagerly by Wyatt, and we begin the two hour session. I feel that I always need to apologize to my teacher since I make her ears bleed on a weekly basis. Butchering the French language is easy for me, making it sound beautifully romantic is not. The thing I love most about my lessons is that my teacher teaches me about French/Belgian etiquette and she helps me out by calling places!
While living in Geneva, I took some lessons too. It was a good thing for me. I got to get out of the house (sans mes filles), go downtown, and use my brain for a couple of hours. I liked it then, when I thought needing to know a foreign language was a temporary thing. I worked hard, did my homework, and tried to use my new found vocabulary to my best ability in public. Just when I started learning quite a bit, my lessons ran out, and I found out there was a high probability of moving…I guess I took it for granted, and should have tried to continue somehow.
Now, I live in Belgium. Here I face a bigger challenge. I live in a Flemish (AKA Dutch) speaking commune, but if I cross the highway they speak French. Yeah, it’s awesome. Just when I figured out a large portion of words to help my crippling French vocabulary, I move to where they speak Flemish. What a pain in the rear. I can’t read any of the signs, talk to any of the storekeepers, or even know what to call things like bread and butter. Luckily for me, usually everyone who speaks Flemish, also speaks English. So, I don’t have to look like a complete fool for too long.
But, back to my language butchering…I mean language studies. Applying my French skills is pretty hard since most people in Brussels speak English. Like I’ve said before…no one seems to truly be from Brussels…so this usually make English the common denominator amongst us all. I typically use my French at the outdoor markets, my daughters gymnastics class, and when a delivery or repair man comes to my home. All of my friends speak English, and I haven’t met anyone as a French speaker. Maybe, I should try one of those conversation partners, but I have to admit…it sounds horrible for me. But, let’s be honest…what would we talk about?