I’ll start with the disclaimer that I don’t like being bad at something. I’m fiercely competitive and anything I’m not able to do well I generally just don’t do. Yes, that’s a fault in itself I know, but it’s who I am and I’m ok with that. Take football for example, I played for a year or so in my mid-teens but was never really that good. So, after that year I decided to leave football and go back to dance, something I was much better at and enjoyed much more. I didn’t regret leaving football and I liked that I wasn’t bad at dance. Since I was young I’ve followed a similar model, if I’m good at and enjoy something I’ll continue. If I try something and find I’m not very good I leave it be. I’d rather focus on the things I’m capable of than the things I’m not. Again a potential character flaw, how are we ever supposed to get better at something if we don’t try right?
Well, learning French has meant altering my mind set a little. One of the main reasons I’m here is to achieve a good command of the language, and that means persevering even when I’m not doing that well. And trust me, there have been many moments where I’ve felt completely lost and wanted to throw in the towel…but I’m also not a quitter and that means carrying on. Bit of a catch 22 right? I think the french language is beautiful. Ever since I was a child holidaying with my family in France I’ve loved hearing it spoken. Secretly I’ve always wanted to speak it fluently, and last year I got the courage to do something about it. It’s a language filled with rules, we (read I) like rules. Rules make things straightforward, most of the time, clear, black and white, right or wrong. However entwined within these rules are what feel like endless exceptions. Just when you think you’ve got the hang of something, a curveball is thrown in. An additional nugget of information you need to learn and apply. It’s great to be challenging my mind, I’ve not had to think in this way for years and I can feel the cogs turning with all the added concentration and learning I’m having to do. This learning isn’t limited to the classroom I spend 6 hours a week in. It’s 24/7, I’m surrounded by the language and constantly trying to soak up all the information is exhausting. I’ve said before that my first month here wiped me out from absorbing so much information. It’ was an overload of ‘new’ and ‘interesting’.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I decided to take this journey and get way out of my comfort zone. It’s been a mostly fun ride but I’d be lying if I said learning another language wasn’t hard. I’m finding it particularly tough at the moment, maybe that’s why I decided to write this. We’re currently learning pronouns and when to use them in order to avoid a lot of repetition. Our teacher says mastering this will make us sound very ‘French’…well as French as we can eh. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it often feels like I’m taking one step forward and then two steps back. Just as I think I’m making headway, we start something that completely bamboozles me. However, rather than follow the M.O. I would normally this time I’m sticking it out. All in good time as they say.