Sunday, February 14, 2016

Lovin' the sea... and beginner French week 1

Given that it’s Valentine’s Day I thought it only appropriate to introduce you to my new love… the view from my apartment right out along the sea. Morning, noon, and night I’ve found myself just sitting, staring, and listening to the waves crashing across the street. I can even lay in bed and stare out. Not a bad way to wake up each day!

One of the draws to the south of France for me was the sea. I wanted to be able to run or walk along the water, check out the boats, watch the few brave winter swimmers, and the enjoy views up and down the coast. Having it right out my apartment window is even better. So yeah, I’m in love with the view. Things could be worse...

After a week of settling in, working off the jet lag, hanging out, having a ski day, and just some general wandering my French lessons started. Last Monday I was back to a routine and heading to school each morning at 9AM. Been a while since I’ve actually had to really be anywhere consistently, let alone paying attention, trying to learn, and then having homework. But so far so good. The routine is nice to have and it’s only three hours a day so I still have the afternoons and evenings to do whatever I please. I've got a few local things within Cannes, Nice, and some of the surrounding towns on my list to check out so I need to get cracking!

Sitting in the classroom it’s definitely like being back in 9th grade Spanish class and starting from the absolute beginning - and a few of the people in my class aren’t actually that much older than 9th graders! The week that I started must have also been the week that a semester abroad crew from various American universities began. So my six person class is me and mostly college students. There’s one other 30 year old girl, but she’s Russian and doesn’t really speak English. Luckily I do know one gal who’s in another class so we walk to and from school each day and have our mid-morning coffee break together.

I’ll be besties with the the college kids soon enough, they’re pretty entertaining. They’ve already informed me what pub has ladies night on Sunday and which has Karaoke Wednesday. Not sure I need to partake in any of that, but good to know where I’ll find all of the English speakers on various days of the week. The first day of class last week also happened to be the day after the Super Bowl which in France wasn’t on until midnight. Given the timing I decided that I’d pass on watching it - I caught the Lady Gaga national anthem and halftime show on YouTube later. However, two of the girls in my class definitely had a go at the game and arrived into the first day of class tired, hungover, and still sporting the giant florescent pen markings from the bar on their hands. Everyone in the class was quickly introduced to 'fatigué', the French word for tired, by our teacher and she now always asks if they’re tired or have headaches. Good start!

It’s going to take a while until I can hold any type of basic conversation and comprehend when people speak to me - it still tends to sound a lot like gibberish the first time I hear anything. But I will say even after week one I’m feeling a bit more confident even just on knowing how to pronounce things and I am a master at telling my name, where I’m from, and where I live. I know a few verb conjugations and if I could ever remember 13, 14, and 15 I’d be counting to 20. That’s not going to get me far, but hey I’ve got to begin somewhere. I do feel that in just the few days of actually be in class with the teacher, despite her not really talking any English to us during the lessons, it makes much more sense to me than when I tried to use anything online.  

On my third day in class I did need to figure out how to tell the teacher that I was going to be out on the Friday. Already ditching in the first week, oops! Only knowing the word for Friday my ability to tell the teacher and then see if there was a way for me to make up the session or know what was covered was a bit limited. Once I said Vendredi though she figured out what I was attempting to send telepathically to her :) It was all sorted so we’ll see what progress the class made while I was out and what I missed.

I’ll do a bit of a refresher and review of my words, phrases, and conjugations this evening and be back at it tomorrow. I might even find some French cartoons to watch which will make me feel even more like a three year old than I already do learning my counting in class! If I can follow a cartoon that will be yet more progress. Dora the Explorer anyone?!? It's preschool hour over here :)

A full five days this week, we’ll see how that goes and hope for some interesting stories along the way.

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