Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The French Disconnection

I went to London for one week, and I suddenly feel like I've lost 2 months worth of progress in French. I don't even wanna know what it's gonna be like when I return to the USA.

Why can't I remember anything? Everything goes in one ear, out the other. Yesterday, I got a headache trying to speak to professors at the high school. It was just a week and half ago that I was in Nice, speaking quite often in French, albeit with many faults, but still speaking.

Learning a new language is so hard; you work and work, but it seems like you are back-peddling. Moreover, it can be lost so quickly if not immersed. I mean, I am learning French for goodness sake; it's not like it's Chinese!

I also feel like a hypocrite, teaching these kids English and trying to tell them to be relaxed, but if the tables turned on me, I would be panicking. I dodge and try to escape the situations ASAP when students ask me to speak French.
It's so frustrating!!!!
It makes me wanna howl at the moon....
Everybody keeps telling me:
(someday fluency will happen, that is)...and to chill. I do chill. I probably chill a little to much. The problem is, time is running out. I hope to come back next year!
I guess, if anything, my struggles in French have made me a lot more empathetic and patient with my students struggles in English. You've always gotta look on the bright side of life.


  1. yikes! I get nervous just thinking about it! I love french and understand it very well but I'm such a chicken when it comes to speaking it to a native speaker. We have a few french clients at work and the most I can get out it a "Bonjour! Comment ça va?" :) You're an inspiration

    PS: ah how I love Monty Python...

  2. I have to say I am in the EXACT SAME BOAT! I'm learning Italian in Italian Switzerland, and every time I leave, I lose a little. I'm returning home for the summer soon, and I will probably lose all ability I had.

    Learning a new language is so exciting when you get something right, but when it's wrong or you forget it, it's just that GAH!Blah! feeling.

    Also, Monty Python reference truly appreciated.

  3. AMEN!!!!!! I come across this so so much!! I feel so frustrated at how little I can really speak, despite the fact I do know quite a bit, and how embarrassed I get when forced to speak. The whole "this is your degree" thing makes it even scarier and worse...

    Yeah I do go to oxford, st john's college, it's at one end of cornmarket (the pedestrian high streety bit). I'm guessing you saw all the big colleges, christ church, magdelen and that? Mine is quite small, but still beautiful, with some gorgeous old buildings, and new ones too. If you get time to write about your time in london and oxford I would love to hear about it. I'm incredibly proud and in love with both cities :) xxxxxx

  4. It really does make you more empathetic to everyone else that can't speak to you! I visited Charlotte for week and came back def off track! And it is SOOOO exhausting to constantly have to think! That I think is the killer for me, my brain has never been this active bc I have to think to hear the radio, listen to the weather, understand a stranger...respond to said stranger! When I was home I was blown away at suddenly how easy it was to do everything, I realized how exhausted I've been here.

    I also hate always feeling different, it was nice to get that break of feeling a part of a group. I've never in my life been one for wanting to be in "the group" but to live a constant life of looking at everyone from an outsiders perspective, its so nice to feel included for a change. Good luck girly! (and yes it is REALLY funny how our lives coincide! We should do something about that! Maybe a cafe someday in the future!!

  5. Learning new languages is really difficult... I'm sure that step by step you'll remember everything!
    A big hug :D


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