by Joy Mason, Greenheart Travel Language School participant
Good news, I held an entire conversation with Pierre and Isabelle in French! I hardly made any mistakes, and it was a conversation with meaning and purpose, about how I felt rude on the phone because it’s hard to speak French on the phone (oh man is it difficult) and about their plans and all this stuff. Also, Pierre said that my French is getting better. A real-live conversation. On the other hand, a stranger talked to me this evening, and I had no idea what he said. After three repetitions, no idea. But that’s how it goes.
Saturday July 4, 2009
Happy birthday, America! I actually missed being there a lot more than I thought I would. We were watching television (of course) last night, and some golf in Washington D.C. came on, with all the greens decorated with American flags, and it just made me homesick for America. I missed being home when everyone gets excited for the Fourth of July and all the cities hang red-white-and-blue banners and people make plans and get paid holidays and love America. Here, it was just another day.
And on that just-another-day, I went to Nice with Kate, Anne, and Katherine. We went shopping, and I bought a dress! We also went to a photography museum in Nice, and it’s a good thing it was free. I would have been a little put-out if I had paid to see scratched-up photos of body parts and pictures of trash on the beach. But hey, if you’re into that sort of thing, it was neat, I guess. Finally, we ate ice cream at Fenocchios, the greatest ice cream place ever.
I had to do an oral presentation in class today, and I decided to do it on “how to make a pb&j.” I explained that in the U.S. schools, we quite often have to make oral presentations, especially on “how to” do or make something, and that the example often given is “how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” As I talked about the things you need for such a sandwich, I pulled them out of my bag, and everyone started smiling. And then when I said, “And now I’m going to show you how to make a peanut butter and jelly,” they all laughed. So I made a pb&j, and then I had pre-made sandwiches to give out to everyone! It was a resounding success. I’m not sure everyone liked the sandwiches, but they definitely liked that I had the sandwiches.
Brigitte, my current teacher, asked the other day if I wanted to teach French, and I said maybe. Today she told me (very tactfully and kindly) that if I wanted to teach French, I really needed to work on my pronunciation. And she’s so right. I have the knowledge of the written language, but not the spoken language. I have such a hard time with certain pronunciations, like words with the letter ‘r’. Americans say the letter r with a cupped tongue and in the front of the mouth, while the French say the letter r with a flat tongue pressed up against the teeth and in the back of the throat. Brigitte says that I should say “La roue rouge roule sur la route” to practice my”r” pronunciation.