Much like the weather in Nice the past two days, I’ve been a bit depressed. We’re not talking clinical depression or anything; I’ve just been feeling low and without energy. It happens to even the happiest among us. Really, all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed and let the day pass. I admit that if D were away on a business trip I most likely would have succumbed to my desire to sleep the day away.
I spent the greater part of the morning trying to work up the energy to get moving. After all, it’s not seemly for a self-respecting woman to spend all day in her pajamas, is it? (If you don’t leave your house and if you don’t blog about it, who would know?) I know that once I get going I’ll keep moving and Newton and his first law of motion to thank.
The force that acted upon this body was my Meet-Up group. We get together to speak French with our instructor/group leader who gently corrects our “u” and “ou” and ensures that our nasal vowels are nasal.
But that’s not the only good part of attending these meet-ups. First, it gets me off the sofa and out of the apartment. Second, I get to have conversations en français that are useful to my life in France. And while I have several years of French study under my belt I have had one stumbling block: my shyness.
For me, integrating into my community means interacting and communicating with others. To that end, I put myself in situations where I need to speak French such as running errands on my own. In the beginning running errands on my own were enough to get my heart racing and my mind spinning. I would pre-play the entire event and try to predict what would happen and therefore what I should say. Now, going to the market and to the butcher shop have become part of my every day. Ditto for restaurants and public transit.
At home, D and I speak a mixture of French and English. (It does feel strange sometimes to speak French with him when we’re alone.) And chez les parents, it’s French all the way. It’s forced immersion and it helps.
As a supplement, I watch tv in French — we don’t have any English channels — and I’ve started reading crime novels in French. Not only am I exposed to new vocabulary but it also helps in understanding how spoken French is constructed. Plus, they make for good reading.
Will I be fully bilingual by the end of the year? I don’t know but I’ll enjoy the process!