Bad Kitty.

Eek! How did I ever let a month (close enough) go by without posting anything?

Bad, bad kitty.

Truth is, I have still been writing constantly, albeit mainly doing lines over and over again, in French.

I’ve always loved languages – writing it, reading it, hearing it – so keeping myself motivated wasn’t hard at all.

As it happens, it is only too easy for me to get over-motivated and started banging away on French everything like a language-learning Nazi really. I have my beloved secondary school to thank for that – Diligence  is one of the school values widely extolled. Where did the fascist attitude come from? Well… we were chased from spot to spot by someone blowing on a police whistle; our hair lengths were scrutinised frequently (nothing below our cold, trembling earlobes). Read: Discipline (and Nazi-ish nitpicking). Can I just say though, I honestly LOVED that school. But that’s another story altogether.

Anyway… Not contented with just taking my tutor’s word when it comes to the prickly subject of ‘en’, ‘à’, ‘de’ and the million other split personalities these annoying lil’ buggers come in, I *had* to go research on what it means when the same word morphs and mutates into partitives, pronouns, prepositions and monsters.

Sometimes I made progress and I feel like the champion of the world. As if my legs had grown two-inches longer.

Other times… many times (Though not most times, thankfully.)… La tête just goes… vide.

Like when I figured out preposition à is for ‘going to’ and preposition de is for ‘coming from’ and then I turn a page and the article de that roughly translates to ‘some’ and ‘any’ swings by to say ‘Hi’ while swiftly being chased down by en, which can be both a preposition and also a pronoun.

Oui.

And I can’t let it go.

I. Can’t. Let. It. Go.

My school motto demands that I get to the bottom of things. And to the bottom of things I got to.

With these…

Yes. I applied a filter to make it look nicer. Hurhurhur.

So what did I discover at the bottom of the pile?

Me. Lying rather lifeless. With a very firm and fit writing arm all sinewy and Michelle Obama-y from all the copying and writing and rewriting I was doing.

Not too bad, I’d have to say. (I’m shallow. You mean you didn’t know?)

Just last night I’ve started dreaming in French… though I can’t be sure if it was actual accurate French, at least I can say that without a doubt, my subconscious recognised it as awesomely fluent French.

So now the conscious me just has to catch up with my subconscious half.

Tonight, we conquer French Gender.

Ninja! Peace out.

 

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The French Withdrawal.

Yup. My French term has officially ended and I’m feeling so lost, so grumpy, and so terribly unhappy.

For eight weeks, I looked forward to waking up at 7am every Tuesday and Thursday morning for French Class. Even if that meant an hour-long journey. Even if that meant train rides with too many grumpy (sometimes sweaty) commuters. I fight for room to stand most of the time, and sometimes I fight for air to breathe. But always… I’ll be revising my French.

I met an old friend a month back, who was shocked that I had left work.

“To do what?” he asked. (Demanded, almost.)

“Study French.”

“What the heck for? Who are you going to speak French to? Go back to work!”

I smiled and changed the subject. How can I explain the joy that language… that learning brings? I would fail miserably. Besides, if he couldn’t see the reason behind exploring something new, how would he be able to accept my explanation… or any explanation for that matter.

Three months into my self-imposed sabbatical, I realised nothing gave me more pleasure than when I am learning, experimenting and doing something new and challenging. My days were filled with driving and French. (And I had initially intended to take either Swedish or German at the same time. Multi-tasker alert.)

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had people shudder in disgust on the train when I attempted the French ‘R’ sound. Know that awful sound some people make when they are hacking up phlegm? Yea. That’s the one.

I almost cried in frustration at home – twice – because homework was difficult. (Yes. When I told B I wanted to be the top student, I was only half-joking. What to do? NYG Syndrome.)

I am convinced that the lesson Guillaume had with us on Numbers: Seventy to One million etched permanent frown lines on my forehead.  I went home and ‘screamed’ on my Facebook status “I THOUGHT I WAS LEARNING FRENCH, NOT MATH!”

But to have the freedom to do whatever I want and learn whatever I like is such a treat… and luxury. So how can I not be thankful?

Now that the term is over, I still find myself waking up early on Thursday, all ready to go. Only now, there is technically nowhere to go to.

I’m not sure when I’ll be able to register for the next term – an important journey in June will interfere with French plans. I’m going to miss Guillaume – who is everything I want my teacher to be: attentive, meticulous, and so generous with his time and knowledge… I’m going to miss my supportive classmates…

In the meantime, I’m learning phrases and sentences on my own, twice a week. I scroll through my friends’ numbers on my phone so I can practise reciting their numéros de téléphone in French. It’s an uphill battle, not knowing if I got the nuances correct; missing out on the much needed interaction.

But when I started on this journey, I had a goal: to be fluent enough to watch French movies without the aid of subtitles. By hook or by crook, I’m going to get there.