The french lessons continue and it's slowly, and I mean sloooooowly, seeping in. I still have this hope that I'll wake up one day and suddenly be able to converse in French. Obviously that's not going to happen, but I can still have dreams, right?
This week we had a field trip to the market in Cannes. Not the grocery store, the real legit market with all the lovely produce, meats, flowers, cheeses, etc. The class had a list of questions to ask of different vendors. Luckily there were only four of us that day so we did it together. My lack of speaking confidence didn't help me with this but thankfully the vendors see classes come in all the time and were very very friendly. I do realize I need to go and try to speak to people all the time and not just walk around like a mute every day. I'll get there, but also as soon as most people hear my attempted french they just start speaking English :)
As a step to immerse myself with more French I decided to try some workout classes. Last week I went to a yoga class at a small studio where the instructor spoke both French and English. Language wasn’t really an issue here... it was more that it’s probably been about nine months since I’ve done yoga so just this light class left me pretty sore in those tiny little back muscles that I never use until doing a bit of downward dog and plank. I might be getting back into running shape but the rest of me apparently has a long way to go!
Following my yoga soreness recovery I was more bold this week and ventured to an actual gym with loads of classes to see how I'd fare. I'm in a bit of Barry's Bootcamp withdrawal and need something to kick my ass for an hour other than running. Also, even though running along the sea is beautiful and I can rock out to the Biebs (yep, don’t judge, I’m having a bit of a Bieber moment right now) with my headphones on it doesn’t force me to listen and follow along to spoken French.
I now know that post workout soreness has no language barriers! My abs are still killing me from my ‘tallie abdos fessiers’ class on Tuesday. An hour of abs and butt work was totally exhausting but at the same time absolutely great. It's rare to do something for an hour, never break a sweat, and be sore for days! In between movements during moments of rest I’d glance over at my friend Jen with a laugh and look of ‘holy shit this is hard’.
Did I have any clue what the guy was saying during the classes? Umm… not really. For now knowing 1, 2, 3, 4, left, right, breath in, and breath out, is getting me pretty far. I should probably learn the appropriate French words for arm, leg, and back since we haven’t gotten to that in school yet. At this point I try to be in the back or on the side of the class, watch the instructor closely, and look around and hope someone else in the class has more of a clue than me :) I don’t know that I’ll venture into any super fast paced classes requiring the use of steps or other serious equipment any time soon. I had enough trouble figuring out how on earth I was supposed to use the band and weights during the abs and butt class. After some fumbling I finally figured it out and dang that band made those Jane Fonda leg lifts really difficult!
As I would at any gym, especially a workout class setting, I’ve been taking mental inventory of all the other people. People watching is part of the French culture is it not? This gym seems to be pretty hopping around 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon but I have yet to see it much later. As for my workout class buddies, well... they definitely run the gamut. A fair number of older ladies, a few guys, and then the younger crowd. Wednesday's 3:30 stretching class was definitely me and the ladies of leisure crew. And I'm still struggling to get the image of the woman last night in her velour one piece jumpsuit out of my head. I just can't imagine how hot and uncomfortable that would have been for squats, abs, and leg lifts.
So next time you’re in a workout class scouting the scene, judging, taking mental note, and you see someone looking totally lost just think of me! He or she might not be totally uncoordinated, they just might not understand the language. Or better yet, they are indeed totally uncoordinated and to make matters worse don’t understand the instructor - that would be me in a Zumba class for sure!