Thursday, April 19

Parlez-vous Francais?

I saw on the bulletin board outside of the town hall an advertisement for weekly French lessons for $15 per hour session.  I knew that I couldn't afford to go more than once or twice, but I couldn't let this opportunity slip past.  It was too perfect.  

So this afternoon, at five o'clock, I pulled on my jeans and put daisies in my hair and headed down to the town hall for what...  I could only imagine.  

I wasn't terribly surprised by what I found.  The instructor is a Frenchwoman herself, with a French name beginning with 'L' that I can neither pronounce or spell.  The five other students greeted me with enchante, and began practising their skills at introducing each other in French.  I was the youngest by twenty years at least.  The next youngest was our instructor, at forty, then a man at fifty or so, then three retired women in their late sixties, and finally a retired man in his seventies perhaps.  

It was funny, actually, because for each one of them, I had an absurd feeling or recognition.  I was almost certain that I had met them all before - not merely in passing like in a supermarket, but the sort of recognition a middle-aged woman might have for a primary-school teacher.  It was unusual but exciting.  

We started off with an excursion - a trip around town following some French directions.  We got slightly lost but eventually regrouping, laughing a lot and asking how to say "the birds are singing", we finally got back to the classroom.  

They were a truly glorious bunch of people.  The instructor stuck by me all throughout our expedition, joking in a heavily accented English.  

When we got back, we embarked on a journey of discovery into the world of French grammar.  To demonstrate the allocation of gender to inanimate objects, the instructor went around the room, taking deep swigs from a two litre bottle of Pepsi and naming the objects.  

"Chair, feminine.  Table feminine.  Problem masculine.  Solution feminine."  Followed by hearty laughter.  

Among several sheets she gave us, we received a worksheet like a passport which we had to fill out in French.  

Date de naissance:
Lieu de naissance:

One of the ladies had us laughing as she struggled through her vocabulary book for the French word for "brain surgeon" as her profession.  

"I've always wanted to write that down as my job," she laughed.  

I already feel like part of a community after this lovely experience.  Next week may have to be my last lesson for the sake of not spending my life's earnings, (as much as four hours per week at a video library can make a girl), but still, the experience, and lovliness will be forever worthwhile.  

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful time, Book Florist! :) I never studied French past school - my pronunciation to date is pretty terrible.

    But in the first two years of college, I took Japanese lessons from an old man who was originally from Kyoto and who took Japanese classes in his sparetime.

    To my delight, my Japanese pronunciation was much better than my French. He even taught us flower arrangement in one lesson. Sadly, the pressure of studies wouldn't allow me to continue with my lessons and apart from basic conversation I am not particularly skilled at it.

    Your amazing French lesson refreshed my memory of that experience though! :)


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