As spoken by Marie-France, the lovely woman who has brought me into her home, who feeds me twice a day, and who does not mind the awkward silence during each meal when I do not understand a word she says to me. To be fair, I understood much more today than yesterday.
It is tremendous!
The feeling of using another language completely est formidable, verement. From the first minute that I arrived in Paris, I have been forced to speak French for literally every moment of the day. Marie-France speaks perfect english; however, she refuses to speak to me more than one word at a time, or when I ask the meaning of specific French words. At school, most of the students are from different countries, and therefore our only common language is French. (Though I have a feeling many of them know English).
Yesterday, during my first day of school, I caused quite a stir for the other student living with Marie-France. Ruben is a university student from Barcelona. He is very sweet, very eager to help me learn (he speaks quite a bit more French than I do). We do have much in common: he is studying “philosohies classique” which I have interpreted as the classic languages and their philosophies, latin, greek, ancient greek, homeric greek, etc. This is similar to what I studied at Thomas Jefferson... except he can speak them. We were taught to read only.
Anywho, he told me a time and place to meet him after school. However, it was all in French of course, because his English is not much better than my French. And until recently he refused to slow down his speech for me. Apparently I also missed a meeting with the school to tour the city and meet other students. Therefore, while I was waiting for him from six o’clock to seven o’clock, he and and the group of new students (there is a new group of students every week at the school) were waiting for me since four o’ clock. But of course, they told me about the meeting in French, and I only partially understood.
After they alerted the police that I had made it home on my own (a half hour bus ride, that I knew not where the bus picked up or dropped off), they asked me what I was doing all day. Not speaking much French, I just shrugged my shoulders and made a walking motion with my fingers and said “Tour le ville”. Later I explained to Ruben that I am an only child, I know how to entertain myself, and I know how to explore a city.
And Rouen is a good city to explore. This weekend, Ruben and I have decided to take a trip to visit the home of Monet in the countryside! At least, I think that is where we are going. We shall see!