Picture a little girl. She turned nine years old last week and is simultaneously excited and bored to death with life. She wears her hair in multiple braids every day. She likes to make things and learn about new people, but mostly likes to watch the world around her, as though she is learning the moves to an intricate dance she hopes to perfect.
This little girl is a bit odd. For her 9th birthday she asked her mom to take her to Williamsburg so she could study colonial life in the 18th century. And, on the way there, her family made a stop in a little place called Quebec, Canada. Amidst the unreadable traffic signs and how beautiful all the people speaking sounded, it felt like heaven. The little girl is mesmerized and entranced. She thinks she’s walked into a storybook, and she doesn’t ever want to step out again.
Studies show that what you gravitate toward when you’re 7-9 years old is an early indicator to what you’ll be passionate about in your adult life. You might lose it during middle school, or hide it during high school. But, generally it comes back again and again, as though some kind of haunting presence.
This is what happened to me in third grade. The moment I heard someone speak French for the first time I was hooked. I couldn’t/can’t believe how beautiful it was/is! The language was like verbal painting, and I LOVE painting. The moment I got back to my own hometown I insisted that my mom put me in French lessons. I wanted to know everything. How to speak it, how to read it and how to move to France when I was older. My mom wasn’t on board with the last request, but she enrolled me in classes nonetheless.
French has always been something I’ve poured myself into, but has never seemed like “work” to me. It’s always been there, more or less like a hobby. Something I’ve gone back and forth to all the way through college. I don’t really talk about it. Most people are surprised when they find out I know any French at all. But, having the opportunity to now live in the very heart of what has captured my own, has brought it to the foreground again in my life.
This past week I started French tutoring, so I’ll have a solid foundation for when I actually move. I was going to wait to enroll in classes starting in April at the community college near my house, but decided, after looking at enrollment fees, that private tutoring was actually way cheaper and more one on one instruction. So now, I’ll be going once a week to meet up with my tutor.
One thing that is really surprising me is how much my mind has retained, although I haven’t spoken one word of French for almost five years. I’ll hear a word, or a phrase and think, “Wait…I know that…” It might take me a couple of minutes, or being reminded, but I think it’s all re-sticking pretty quickly. It kind of feels like I’m rediscovering my identity after having amnesia. And I’m not gonna lie – I love it.
That being said, here are
My goals for French:
– 1 hour per day of practicing
– At least semi-fluent before I even get on the plane in August
– I’d love to be able to Skype with my au pair family while speaking French, instead of speaking English and have the parents translate to the kids
– Join some kind of group to meet other people in Seattle that speak French,
so I can speak with them (April/May)
– Start writing my blog posts in En Français and English so I can practice, but you guys can still read them
– Learn to flirt in French. That’s right – I said it.