Sunday, 21 August 2011

Part 3: Je ne comprends pas!!!

Of all the activities that the last two and half months held, it was no secret that my 3 week intensive French course at Les Cedres was the one that I was dreading the most. However, fired up from 5 days in Mali and having an opportunity to begin to drudge up some of my basic French phrases, I arrived in Paris surprisingly upbeat and positive. Oh, what a mistake!! This just meant that the inevitable fall and realisation just how bad my French actually was, was just that bit more crushing and painful!! For those of you that know me well, also know that I don’t mind a little exaggeration and drama every so often, but in all seriousness, the first few days at Les Cedres were awful! Because the only permissible language in Les Cedres is French, whether that be in the class, or over meal times, I was somewhat stuck for words- for once I was quiet. This couldn’t last long however, and after just 2 days and a little pep talk to myself, I took a deep breath and went for it: yes the conjugations were to pot, the phrases inelegant and when necessary the odd English word with a fake French accent was used (which I actually got away with on occasions!), but somehow I managed to communicate enough to make it bearable and enjoyed my time in Paris with some fun people.

Celebrating Bastille Day
Front seat at the Tour de France

Sight seeing with course mates

My 3 weeks finished with an exam which predictably was not the biggest barrel of laughs, but, oh how much more did I enjoy my holiday after that?!!? I’ve had a lovely couple of weeks with various friends who joined me in Paris and a week with my parents in the south of France; a preferable way to absorb a language I feel.

Four weeks today and my language learning is going to be at a whole new level, where once in Chad I’ll have no choice; its French or Arabic or any one of the other 120 tribal languages spoken there, but certainly no English! Hmm, maybe French isn’t so bad after all!!

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