Not too much exploring recently, at least, not with great purpose. 🙂 I started classes on Monday with Alliance Français, and if you are looking to learn French, I HIGHLY recommend them. I’m only 3 days in and think both our professor and the class structure are brilliant. I will defintely be continuing my studies with them in Calgary when I return home.
I took an online placement test before I was put in this class, and it definitely made me feel discouraged by how little I understood. The beginner class is A-1, and I was placed in A-2.
There are 10 students in my class- 2 from Italy, 2 from China, 2 from Canada, 1 from Spain, 1 from Turkey, and 1 from Japan. They all took A-1 together so I am the only newbie to the group, but they are all very friendly. It’s a good mix of people, and what I truly appreciate is how close we all are in our level of comprehension, and just vary a bit in our speaking skills (or at least, our confidence in our speaking skills). There are definitely moments in class where I feel intimidated or frustrated with how difficult the language is, but I find that the challenge really tests my skill and I feel like I will make great improvements in my speech and comprehension as a result. It’s awesome!!
I was starting to feel a bit homesick the other night and decided to research ways to meet people in Paris.
I found many options. One was “Franglish” (www.franglish.eu) a twice-weekly event held at various pubs and cafes, where the purpose is to speaking both English and French to practice your second language. It’s kind of like speed-dating, without the dating part. 😉 You speak one-on-one with an assigned partner: entirely in French for 7 minutes, then entirely in English for 7 minutes (or vice versa) , then switch partners. It ran from 7pm to 9pm and I spoke to six people in total. It went quite quickly and I made friends with the lovely woman sitting next to me (who was from the UK who moved to Paris in January), and the Parisians I chatted with included a lawyer, a retiree, three students and an urban planner. It was fun and exciting, but it was definitely a real challenge for me, since my nerves sometimes get the better of me when I try and have a conversation in French.. I definitely plan to do it again, and told my classmates all about it today. Several of them are hoping to try it in the next week or so.
These are photos on my walk after class today through the 4th and 5th Arrondissements. When the weather is this nice, I try and walk as much as possible, before I take the metro anywhere. However, this morning on my way to school, there were two saxophone players in our car on the train, ‘dueling’ with jazz music. Hearing “Take Five” by two talented musicians to start your day is fantastic. I hope it catches on back home….
It rained for most of today, but the sun has come out and turned everything golden this evening. I was going to just grab some dinner and go home but the evening is so beautiful I decided to wander around the 4/5 arrondissements before finding a metro stop to get home, and I ended up at Le Jardin du Luxembourg. “Superbe!” I would also like to take this time to note, I have purchased a bread product every day since I have been here, be it baguette, croissant, or crêpe. I am also becoming a lover of coffee. Cappuccinos, in particular (or café au lait). Maybe it’s because everything tastes better in Paris…