Coucou! No, that doesn’t mean I’m cuckoo (although you will realize that I am soon enough). It’s a casual way of saying hi in French, for all you mono-linguists. OK, so I learned that yesterday. I have been in French class for three days. After the first day I realized the teacher was amazing and I was, yes, cuckoo. My brain hurt and I told la professeur (yes Unckie, they say la professeur for female professors in France). She said, “Yes, this is normal.” OK. I still showed up for Day 2. See, cuckoo. BTW: That was the last English I have heard her speak.
Day 2. Here is what I learned:
Really? I am with the cabbie on this. It seems just a little weird. Charming? Maybe. Frustrating? A little. I think I am getting the hang of it, but I was so intent on practicing my counting on the stairs that I walked past our floor in the apartment building and then had no idea where I was. Of course, the Parisians see no reason to use apartment numbers. Deuxième étage à gauche, oui. No problem. Psst, the second floor is really the third floor in the U.S. since the ground floor is floor 0. And the Alliance Française building has a “supérieur premier étage,” which is a second first floor between the deuxième étage and the premier étage. As one of my classmates says, “You just have to let it wash over you and understand that you are a dummy.” Le vérité.
Really, it’s very exciting, fun and challenging. I am one of the oldsters in the class, which I expected, but everyone is friendly, adventurous and mostly they all speak English. The view from the building is incredible and Steven and I have been walking the 5 km there, so at least we are getting some exercise. It’s tough walking by the Tour Eiffel and Invalides every morning but someone’s got to do it.
In case you think it’s all wine and baguettes, we are still working. So after a morning of trying to understand and speak a language in which I had two sentences (Pardon, no parle pas français et Je ne sais pas) before this week, I head home on the Metro with my travel companion Antonia, a nun who speaks four languages already and lives right nearby, I sit down at the computer and do work that I get paid for. Then, I do homework and try to memorize vocabulary, pronunciation and where the accents go. No wonder I can’t answer the store clerk when she asks if I will be paying for my wine with a credit card!
I am looking forward to a weekend of exploring and a break from homework. No wonder the kids complained every day about it! Every time the teacher draws a little maison on the SmartBoard, I cringe.All in all, it’s all I hoped for and more. I am a firm believer in doing. And oolala, I am doing!