All of the travelling thus far has brought me to this point. I am now officially French. Just ask anyone here… except my teacher.
I chose this course in the magnificent town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, which is next to Nice on the French Riviera, because it came highly recommended. A dear friend of a dear friend had attended the one month, full immersion course, several times and, on one of those occasions, studied alongside the Queen of Norway. I felt like if it was good enough for her, it was good enough for me.
I should have realised, therefore, that the course was famous. I arrived by train at Nice Ville and took a beautiful Mercedes taxi to the small hotel I’d booked the night before the course began. According to the trusty Google Maps, l’Insitut de Français was a ten minute walk from the hotel. Upon entering the taxi, I told the driver the name of the hotel. He immediately asked if I was attending l’Insitut de Français. Apparently everyone stays at this hotel the night before.
I arrived at the hotel and the owner said exactly the same thing. Then he advised that I would not need breakfast at the hotel as L’Institut provided it. And also they would come and retrieve my bags.
The only further sign I needed was when I went to the front desk the next day to check out and prepare for the walk to my first day of school. At the desk stood one of my classmates. She was from Norway of course. I now call her Princess.
The first day of school was even worse than kindergarten. All of you teachers out there, I can see you feeling really sorry for me as I spend three hours doing various tests to see exactly how bad my French was. It turned out I had remembered just enough from Springwood High School Year 10 French class to make it into Intermediate One, or un, as it is pronounced in French. Think Anna Kornokova playing tennis. “Uuhh”.
The other highlight of Day Uuhh was meeting my room mate. Well it was a highlight for me. I think for her it was more: “Oh I paid for a single room and here you are.” It took me right back to that Day at Seascape in Connecticut where I met Sherry and Liz. My new room mate was much more gracious than I was all those years ago, of course.
And we have solved any problems that may have arisen in the French way. With wine.
One thought on “Je suis française”
Bahaha, Miss Maccioni would be proud of her ongoing success (i.e. that any of her French lessons entered and then remained in your potentially attitude-compromised brain)! I myself knew that it was time to finish University French after 1 year (you might think I’d have realised it for myself when the lectures on French history were in French, I had to help my REAL French friend named Jean-François de Hé with the grammar work, and we studied Jean-Paul Sartre’s plays in French which were impossibly difficult even when translated into English!) when I went to ask Miss Maccioni for help and she gave that very gentle and sophisticated laugh and confessed that this French poetry was much too difficult for her to translate. End of my French student days. Thank goodness I could pass the baton to Zoe to live and work successfully in Paris. With great regret and awareness of lost opportunities, but yes. Is that a feeling of ‘je ne sais quoi’? I’m sure there’s an exact word that I’ve forgotten. Have an outrageously fabulous time – my 1 month of private language lessons in Indonesia weren’t as glam, but I can certainly relate, and know that it would be absolutely wonderful. Enjoy every single minute. Love you.
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