I’ve been taking French classes since September and I think my knowledge has reversed. Before, I was in that beautiful place of not knowing what I didn’t know. Sure, I had a decent vocabulary forged through high school and some university French classes, but I’d completely forgotten my tenses. And pronoms toniques and compléments d’objet direct? I had no recollection of the concepts.
I’ve managed to muddle through and I’m really quite enjoying it. I like my classmates and my teacher. I enjoy the conversations: we talk about politics and meals and travel and what we did on our weekends. It’s like being at a months long dinner party. We know each other well enough to have a real interest but not well enough to gossip. It’s really the perfect balance. Sometimes, we meet after class to continue our conversations.
It has, of course, stoked my desire to return to Paris. I’d love to go there at Christmas one year. So many of the Paris-based bloggers are posting photos. They seem to have a way of celebrating the season without making it grossly commercial (I loved reading about some of their anti-consumerism practices at A Psychotherapist in Paris.)
Lest I romanticize the culture, I’ve started to read Je Ne Suis Pas Parisienne by Alice Pfeiffer. It debunks the myth of the red lipstick wearing, naturally thin woman with perfect skin who trips around the streets of Paris with her grandmother’s old Chanel bag. It will take me a while to read this one since I need to have my dictionary in hand. If you don’t wish to muddle through or wait for the English translation, Lauren Collins at The New Yorker wrote a terrific piece on this topic here.
I just hope it doesn’t debunk things too much as I like the romanticized version I see when I travel!