Thursday, October 07, 2004

Ma Tete Va Exploder

One of the biggest single components of my experience here so far has been the Big Ol' Language Barrier. My French is, like, waaay rusty, and it breaks my head into little pieces when I work to understand then make myself understood for hours at a time.

Now, I realize my job here is to speak English, but you can't just go and do that all the time if you're stuck way out in the bloody French countryside. It just isn't done, right?

It's also very cool that I'm working among six regular teachers of English, so there are plenty of people I can rely on to tell me what the words are if I'm having trouble. But even then, I feel like I'm expected to try to work my way out of whatever linguistic hole I've dug myself into by using my French.

So I need to rein in the ambition right now. It's enough to use simple sentences to convey simple concepts right now. My natural inclination, of course, is to do the opposite. Someday you should try to carry on a discussion comparing the relative merits and history of French and American table manners when you can't remember the damn word for spoon.

When I last re-started my education in French, it was similarly hard at first. But my teacher told me later that after three weeks I was totally back in business. I'm almost at one now, and I'm improving already. Wish me luck!


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