Frenching

Today, I posed a question to myself. Though, I didn’t actually have words to the question until after I answered it. You see, I was looking at myself in the mirror, about to go downstairs to go on an afternoon walk (since I still can’t run after my accident three weeks ago). In my head was French and the excitement of living in France as an adult – something I have only dreamt of doing, but have tasted as a student – due to this Netflix show called Emily In Paris.

I was somewhat lonesome today, and wanted a movie or series to keep me company while I cooked for a long while. I somehow ended up with Emily In Paris, and fell in love. We had a full and satisfying relationship all day long today (think Jim Gaffigan on Netflix shows being like dating), and I was taking an unwanted but necessary break to go on my walk (got to get those hundred miles in somehow). And so, I’m looking in the mirror, French and Frenchmen and France and chocolatines in my head. And I somehow answer this unsaid question aloud, in French.

I say first, before seeing myself in the mirror, “Bah ouais. Je ne parle pas le français comme langue maternelle. Ce n’est pas ma langue maternelle. Mais j’adore le parler….”

Pourquoi ? someone asks in my head.

“Parce que quand je parle le français…, je me sens…,” and I now look directly at myself in this Masaie mirror on the wall, halted just before the first step downward. “Je me sens… un peu sexy…,” and I smile as I admit it, adding raised eyebrow as and a head tilt at the second feeling, “tellement à l’aise… et,” and this last is he hardest to admit, “comme quelqu’un qui en vaut l’envie. Je veut dire, quelqu’un qui mérite être envié…,” and I look at myself with these words having been said aloud, experiencing the fullness of their truth, and somewhat being that person envying his girl in the mirror – woman in the mirror – and I smile, fully content in that moment, give one final glance to the freckles around my nose, and head down the stairs and out the front door for a hearty walk in the chilly late afternoon air, under the overcast, Fall sky.

As I began my walk, I realized that my unsaid question – it felt a bit like playing Jeopardy, I suppose 😛 – was, “Why learn a foreign language?”

I contemplated this on my walk, and even recorded myself for a bit, just to see what it was like as a means of keeping track of my thoughts. (It was cool, but I’m not sure it is my style for sharing those thoughts with others.) I repeated my earlier statements on speaking French, but added the question to the beginning, and continued my statements with a further idea: When I speak English, these are not the ways that I feel. By speaking French, I have discovered and continue to discover things within myself that I previously had not known. By speaking a language different from my native language, I get to experience myself and life in a new way. And that is possibly the best and most valuable part of speaking a different language.

And, to be clear, this is not due simply to saying words in a foreign tongue. It is by having learned the language, which means experiencing its people and culture, as well as its use, that I have gained access to these formerly-foreign parts of myself. It is the Frenchness within me that I have learned and found throughout the process of learning to speak French, the language. I always support immersion as a necessary part of learning a language, because the language and culture not only go hand in hand, but cannot be separated from one another and still remain true to who and what they are.

So, why learn a foreign language? To discover how life and you are better than you ever imagined. 😉

Yeah 🙂

P.S. For those who do not know French and have not already stuck that paragraph into Google Translate, what I had said roughly translates in English to, “Well, yeah. I don’t speak French like a native speaker. I’m not a native speaker of French. But I love speaking it. Why? Because, when I speak French, I feel… I feel… a bit sexy…, entirely at ease…, and that I am someone worth envying.”

Post-a-day 2020

Oopsie

Today, at the beginning of one of my classes, my students had an oral quiz.

For oral quizzes, they always have to call the same phone number, which is a Google Voice number I chose years ago for this express purpose.

These students had used the Google Voice number before, and most of them just have it saved in their phones, since we use it every time.

A few students, however, did not have it saved today, and so asked for me to write the number on the board.

Okay, sure.

I think about it for a minute, and then write out the number, somewhat confidently and totally surprised – I always have to look it up constantly at the beginning of the school year, and I hadn’t realized that I had re-memorized it again already…, but go, me!

Within thirty seconds, a few students are telling me something…

‘Is that number right?’

‘I think so,’ I reply, ‘but I can check.’

And so I pull out my own phone to go log in and check the number, which is what I usually do in the first place, so it’s no biggie to me.

‘I don’t think that’s the right number,’ others tell me, a sense of assuredness in their voices.

‘Oh, really…?’ I consider…

Suddenly, it hits me: “Oh!… That’s my best friend’s number!” I declare, quickly erasing the number from the board.

Laughing, I put up the correct number, and I marvel at how similar the two are – extremely similar, with just the middle numbers swapped with the end ones.

I shake my head, and I wonder if anyone had already been in the process of leaving a message….!oops

Guess it would be good to give her a heads up… or, perhaps, it would be more fun to leave her with a voicemail of someone praying in French… 😛

After all, that’s what friends are for, right? 😉

Post-a-day 2019

Photo Lingo

I helped out on a little photo shoot today.

I always learn something new at these, which is great, but I always enjoy them just for the fun of their being an event: a photo shoot.

Photo shoots aren’t just an everyday nothing, really… usually, they are, to some degree, a little or big to do, an event that requires at least one someone’s best up-do, and then some.

Today’s, though a small shoot, was no different.

Those being photographed were clearly in their best getup for the occasion, make-up done to a T, and several costume changes at the ready.

It was, as I mentioned, an event.

Now, this was fun, of course…, especially some of the silly things that happened throughout the photo shoot.

However, the little nugget of surprise delight and God-granted satisfaction popped up when we had a few quick comments from the photographer to one of the models, who was the husband of someone there.

The photographer was giving a few specifics about how to do something, if that model was doing it, and then somewhat simultaneously asking the model to come throw something in the background of the photo.

Now, the husband of this model, in a moderate accent, said to the model, “Entiendes?”, which is Spanish for, ‘Do you understand?’

The husband then gave an iffy explanation, still in English, of what the photographer had been saying.

I could tell that neither one of them was getting what the photographer had said, not even the English-speaking husband…, and so I went ahead and, in a quick aside, verified with the photographer for myself when he had wanted communicated.

I then, while still standing atop a large ladder, broke into the conversation between the husbands, addressing the Spanish-speaking one pointedly.

I asked him a few questions in Spanish, told him the first the the photographer had said, and then communicated the answers to the photographer in English.

I then explained to the model, again in Spanish, the second topic the photographer had mentioned (i.e. throwing those objects), and asked if he could do it.

He asked for some clarity on specifics, and then readily agreed.

Problem was solved, and amazing photos ensued.

When that model was then in photos, I let him know to tell me if ever and whenever he did not understand… he agreed, and proceeded to check with me on just about everything that was said to him.

At the end of it all, it had become very clear that he was relieved to have had me there, and everyone was grateful for my surprise super-helpfulness in the form of Spanish, whipped out of my back pocket.

Might I point out that I am dirty blonde, pale, and blue-eyed, – obvious German heritage of which, one could imagine, Adolf would have been proud – an outer shell that does not boast a likelihood of speaking Spanish?

But it is situations just like these that send a delighted tickle to my core when they arise, because everyone is simultaneously flabbergasted and relieved that I have this oh-so-unexpected skill.

I love having my languages be of use.

When I went for that “Super” trip the other day, it felt like a relief and a blessing that the person selling turned out to be a German guy, with whom I was able to interact in German… it made things feel ever so slightly more ‘right’, like I was on the right path.

It really felt today that this same sort of thing was happening – the World, God, was making a sign to me that I was (and am) in the right place.

I want photography to be the right place, and it increasingly feels more and more like it is the right place for me to be and to be putting my efforts and my love and my passion right now…, so this whole Spanish thing today was like a super-blessing from God and the World.

So, yay!

Thank you, God.

Thank you, World.

Thank you, Universe.

Help me to continue on this beautiful path that is meant for me to create and travel, that I might share the beauty and the love I have to offer the World. 🙂

……..

In a separate note, I found myself wondering this evening: How can a couple be married, and not really be able to communicate in the same language?

From what I saw today, the one guy’s Spanish is super limited, and the other’s English is very questionable… so, how do they communicate?

Is it really more like the idea of mail-order brides that caught on back when I was little, than a naturally-occurring relationship?

But then, perhaps their language is presence, and words are in the works…

I know fully well that speaking the same language fully isn’t exactly a requirement for wanting to be with someone.

I even had a time (with one of the acrobats) in which I declared this guy and I could not date until we both spoke the same language fluently (though, I didn’t care what language that ended up being), and I, eventually, followed my declaration (after, of course, passively ignoring it, and, essentially, being in an informal but distinct relationship with him for about six weeks)…. (We had a great time, but too many problems began to arise due, mostly, to language issues, but also to cultural differences.)

So, they very well could be that way, where words are not the language of the now relationship, because they just absolutely hit it off without the words, but the words are in the plans for the future of the relationship.

I dunno… anything is possible, but I know that I, personally, need to speak the same language fluently as my partner in life, whatever language that may be.

Post-a-day 2019

Lingo-bot Life

Occasionally, I feel a bit lame and down about my seemingly lessened and lowered Japanese skills.  But then I have experiences like tonight, where, when speaking with a Japanese man, he was unable to come up with the right Japanese words immediately or at all – we all take longer to process, when we aren’t using a language all the time; even native speakers.  When it happened tonight, I told of the many times I, myself, was unable to come up with an English word while living abroad.  When immersed in one language, it id much more difficult to recall another, native or not, language.  So, I just need to immerse myself more often in each of my languages, and that will help significantly – it is all still there; it just needs a bit of encouragement and exercise.  😛

Not that this is news to me – it was merely a welcomed reminder.  🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Writing

I’m beginning to feel, after someone asked me about my writing this morning, that the main reason I like and am drawn to writing so much, is that it is an opportunity for me to express myself without being interrupted, put down (directly), or even ignored (noticeably)… I get to be myself and to express myself, no matter who might be nearby.

I’m not sure if I like that or not, though…

I’ll ponder for another day or month or so, and see where it gets me… perhaps it’ll be breathtakingly phenomenal, when I have a breakthrough out of what I find in that pondering.

Post-a-day 2018