We had out first conversation session this evening and I have to say it’s well worth the money. Not only did it focus me in my learning, but it has my husband too. Le Marie has for years been telling me that he’d be ok as I’ve worked dilligently away learning French. Apparently, according to him, I’m the type to do ‘book learning’ but he knew ‘street French’.
But, like most men, my husband can be competitive even if it’s in a very none confrontational way. As the day drew nearer he was taking lots of walks on his own; ostensibly to free his bad back. Then I noticed, as he was heading out the door, his earplugs coming from his pocket and realised he was actually learning French.
I’ve been reading to my daughter from a French book for some time now. In the past she’s asked him to read it to her before bed (he does the bedtime stories) and he’d respond ‘that’s one of your mothers books, I’ll read you another one’. Suddenly though I’d hear him reading them downstairs.
I was still pleasantly surprised when Madame Professeure came tonight as he appeared to be able to communicate with her – yippee!
You see I’d read the blog of someone, unfortunately I can no longer find it, who had moved to France with her husband and children some years ago. She was fluent and taught French and Spanish in the UK, however he didn’t know any. As a result they had found it very difficult to make friends as, even though she could converse happily, he was at a loss and had found it very difficult to learn. Consequently when they’d invited people for a social gathering there was a reticence on the invitees part to develop the relationship.
I dread this happening to us, not so much for our sake but for our daughters. Although many people have said to me that having school aged children will automatically mean I can forge relationships from what I’ve read of French culture the school gates aren’t an automatic way to make friends as the French have a more reserved culture. I don’t know if this is true, but the lack of an ability to communicate would destroy what little chance we had.
I was actually really excited, as well as a little nervous, prior to the lesson and was on tenterhooks waiting for it to begin. The hour went by quickly and I could understand the vast majority of what was being said and managed to communicate what I was trying to with a, what I felt was, good amount of success. Obviously this was as a result of Madame Professuere‘s ability to deliver the conversation at the right pace and she was very good at knowing the right time to assist and advise.
We even have homework for next week! She has suggested we prepare to speak about the area we like in France – Normandy – so we all have something to talk about – and she is going to do so too. She has also given us a book to read; Les Froggies Vus Par Les Rosbifs by Stephen Clarke.
It’s funny how much I looked forward to this and how I enjoyed it. I dropped French in year nine at school (12-13 years) and here I am paying for lessons and loving it!