(Chocolat Chaud top left, Fromage de Vincent top middle, Beaujolais top right, Aspring French person bottom left, Authentic French person with cheese bitten into the shape of France bottom right)
Quite right. I’ll bring the whole country to me while I am living in America. If I can’t actually be there, I’ll bring everything I can to me, here, in cold and snowy Buffalo.
To learn a language, one must immerse themselves. Instead of taking a plane to Paris, I am lassoing the entire country to me.
I have already essentially forced Vincent to be my private French tutor. While speaking to each other over Skype while he is away, I demand “En Francais!” in my dictator voice. This indicates that we should immediately switch from English to French. Immediately! He is also very nicely creating a French group here in Buffalo and we will meet with a couple other students once a week and converse over a glass of vin rouge.
I also listen to what seems to be the French equivalent of NPR. I listen to it via my iPad. C’est super! It helps with the accent and trying to be a good listener. I love speaking French but I am tres mal at listening to French. I will be kind of that annoying work colleague who won’t stop talking about their cats, only it will be in French. Moi chat est tres bien! Oh! Moi chat! Moi chat! Mon mari oh je veux dire mon chat!
I also found a new French TV show: Spiral. C’est tres cool! It’s a French police drama with this amazing inspector, Laure. She is top notch. She has this cool team of inspectors and they fight Parisian crime together. Because of the show, I now realize how to say “d’accord.” You have to kind of say it like a buttery knife cutting through bread: DAHY CORE! Kind of like you are a pirate claiming a prisoner: DAHY CORE! That’s how you say okay in France. I use it a lot now with Vincent. He really enjoys it. I can tell by the scared look in his eyes.
I’ve also been listening to a lot of French music. Right now, I am way into “La Femme.” They are sick. Super good. Tres bien! Although I also listen to a lot of 1930s French music but I like the current music better. It just seems that Americans correlate French music with dinner party music, so when I look for French playlists I get Edith Pilaf. There is nothing wrong with Edith Pilaf. She is tremendous, but I prefer music coming out now because I feel like this will help me to make French friends. A simple “La Bande, La Femme, est super!” “Je suis d’accord!” “Allez a le cafe! et tu vais mon ami!” See. Easy, really.
Lastly, I read a lot of books about France. I’ve read two of Peter Mayle’s (“French Lessons” and “A Year in Provence”) about the food of France and living the expat life in Provence. I’ve also read David Sedaris’ books about his life in Paris (“Me Talk Pretty One Day”). It was hilarious. He is a fantastically good writer and anyone who hasn’t read “Stepping Out” in a fairly recent New Yorker, should read it. It’s about him getting a Fitbit in Paris. Funny! Now, I am currently reading “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” It’s by Mireille Guiliano and she is such a lovely writer. I like her perspective on the two countries. I also think she’s very elegant in her choice of words.
So, this is my plan. If I can’t go to a French speaking country within the next couple months, then I’ll just bring all French things to me. Write in with any suggestions of music or books that you have for me.
I think all my hard work is paying off because at dinner the other night my English grandmother said “Lex has gone French on us.” Yup. It’s definitely paying off.