Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I'm a certified Francophile
So I've been doing Rocket French. It's an online language course from Rocket Languages.
Each day I wake up do to my hour of online training.
Each day I turn on the TV afterward hoping I can understand.
Each day I'm disappointed.
In the online course, I do alright. There are little quizzes and lessons you can mark off as complete with a encouraging little green check marks. There are motivational tactics weaved throughout the site like the badge shown above that I earned after completing a level. It's not boring like other courses. As far as language courses go, I'm delighted with Rocket French.
When I'm doing the course, I am understanding the verbs and how they mix together depending on who you're talking to—you (tu) or you (vous) or them (ils) or them (elles). Some of the lessons from my school days in Canada are returning. I'm upping my vocabulary. I'm learning colorful expressions. It's all good.
Yet when I go out in Paris, I feel like I'm Jack trying to order a chipotle sandwich in Mexico.
I keep asking people how long it takes to be bilingual.
No one gives me a straight answer.
If they do, I can't understand it anyway.
But I know that plugging away at my little online french course is good.
Watching french TV is good.
Talking to french people is good.
Being immersed in it is good.
And I've only been doing it for three weeks, so I should also be practicing patience, self-compassion and prizing while I'm practicing my french. I should also give myself a reality check because three weeks of language lessons doth not a bilingual person make.
I know this. I'm aware.
It's like the body issues I wrote about in the last post. I know I'm not Jabba the Hut in the bum department, but sometimes I feel like I am. And I know I'm not a complete idiot when it comes to learning languages, but I wish I were like Rain Man with his uncanny ability to absorb every detail immediately. That would come in handy for my life as a nomadic blogger... and in Vegas.
Yet three weeks of trying to speak another language with native speakers is a really, really long time to be continually frustrated.
But it's not all bad. Progress is being made.
I find myself saying "oui" to myself sometimes before I say "yes."
And sometimes someone says something and I respond in French without thinking.
I also eavesdrop on conversations and catch every tenth word instead of no words.
So I keep at it, collecting my online badges from Rocket French like I'm in Girl Guides, hoping that the more I collect, the more likely I will understand every fifth word they say, then every other and then everything.
I'd like for french to open up to me like my geraniums on my window sill. Today's tight bud will be tomorrow's blossom. And it will be a beautiful thing. But right now I'm a puny green stub of a flower waiting to be...
which is the verb être, by the way.