I remember when I still had that expat-adventure gleam in my eye and actually believed myself when I thought learning the language would be my first year priority. I knew I’d be learning to do lots of things all over again…using French ATM’s, using French websites, using French gas stations..not just to speak. What I didn’t know was that my first year would be one filled with so much grief and stress that the last thing I would want to do, let alone find myself capable of, was learning the lingo!
Now that I’m nearly half way through my second year, I’m a bit more relaxed with the idea. The challenges are still there, of course, but they are less inundating. The overwhelming loss and subsequent grief of what I left behind is finally abating. I have more time and more energy, both mentally and physically, to turn to the task of language-learning.
That said, I’ve barely begun. I suppose it was kicked off when a friend of mine from the states came for a visit. I arranged for her to teach a French immersion weekend to fellow expats here. Since then, I’ve been listening to French everyday by watching Un Village Francais, a TV series about WWII now on Netflix…at least in France. I use the French subtitles as I watch which is extremely helpful because otherwise, all the words just run together. I don’t really know what is sinking in and what isn’t, but I’m not making that my concern. I’m just trying to follow along, enjoy, and listen closely.
The other day while taking a walk to clear my head, I surprised myself. Sometimes when I walk, I pray. So, I started to pray. And guess what? I prayed in French. It didn’t just happen; it was intentional, but somehow it felt more sacred that way. Maybe it’s because I had to fight to learn every single word I used. Or maybe, as I had so few words at my disposal to do so, I felt each word more deeply. Or maybe it is just la musique de la langue that makes everything sound more beautiful.