In case you missed my Hopelessly Lost in Paris entry in my Europe section, getting lost in a country when you don’t know the language is bound to screw you over. Asking ”How much is this?” “What is this?” “Where is the bathroom?” as well as just trying my best accent while reading my choice to the waiter, worked so well in the beginning of my time in France. But then I got lost.
Becoming lost in Paris overnight having no idea where I was, changed everything. How was I supposed to communicate to the taxi driver where to take me if I had no idea where the hell that even was? A challenge when speaking English, let alone French.
I never got into French very much in public school, because our French teacher was a little nuts. Then, I started to take it in high school again but stopped after grade 10 to make more time for other classes of the Arts, and eventually math and chemistry, (two things I never ended up needing).
The only reason I found my way to the campsite was because of a woman who spoke English, and she miraculously knew where my campsite was. I had already paid around 180 Euros in taxis, that essentially drove around in circles in the middle of nowhere. Once the language barrier was cut, I made it back with only 2 Euros in bus fare.
From that day on, I always hated that I didn’t know more French. But the desire was never as strong as when I was in a Spanish speaking environment, oddly enough, flying to Peru. I was in the Lima airport navigating the best I could through the Spanish signs and it just hit me out of nowhere – the intense desire to learn another language!
French. One of my country’s languages. Plus, I’ve always liked French. What really sealed the deal though was my boyfriend being fully fluent as his whole family is from Quebec. I learned some great French foundations from him and then enrolled myself back at university for French! This is my sixth year of university.
So far, the 4 hours a week of French is doing wonders. It helps incredibly that I have the help of my boyfriend and his family. This summer we took a trip to Quebec city. I hadn’t started my French classes yet and I was a little rusty. While we were eating lunch, I had my soup taken away even though I was in the middle of eating it. I thought the waitress asked if I was done, so I said no. She actually asked if I was “still working away,” so, upon hearing my “Non,” she took my lunch away.
I am so excited to go back to France, but this time with my boyfriend, and keep up with him and put to use all that I’ve learned.