This is a bit of a diversion from my usual dietary woes but I thought I’d share a little something that could have turned into an even bigger regret than it already was. About thirty odd years ago, I was paralysed by my inability to decide between learning French, Spanish, German, Japanese or Chinese. So I didn’t start learning any of them. Inertia is a powerful thing!
Since Canada is a bilingual country, & I already had the English bit, I thought I should probably try French. Finally! After all, it would be easier to find francophones to practice with. We have plenty of local language resources. And we have French TV channels & radio that I could learn from. Logical, eh!
After 30 years of deliberations, I then did what everyone with an engineering background does … I did another comparative evaluation exercise on which French language course might be more useful for me. I lost another year doing that. But I finally picked one & splashed the cash. It was my 2017 Christmas gift from me to myself!
I did the first lesson the day I purchased the course. And then I did nothing. Again!
It wasn’t ’til after a family trip to Québec that I was reminded of some things I’d forgotten. Seeing things through another’s eyes, those of my daughter, was an eye opener! She loved Montréal &, no surprise this, the stunning beauty of Québec City too. She began learning French. Towards the end of last year I blew the digital dust off off my French course & got stuck in. But this time, so far & fingers crossed that it continues, I’m staying the course.
I’m lucky enough to have to travel to the francophone regions of Canada for work &, finally, I overcame my reluctance to speak my first few words of French in public. In a restaurant, of course! I had diligently practiced my opening lines. Those that warn people that I’m just learning French & to please have patience with me! They worked. People took their time, they spoke slowly & clearly, & they helped me. And I managed to get breakfast to boot!
There is a quote, a touch inaccurately portrayed as something said by Nelson Mandela, that says … If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.
That is one of the true joys of speaking, no matter how poorly, another’s language. I am awed by the tolerance, the patience, & the kindness elicited by my early efforts to speak French. I hope that, one day, I’ll be able to make it sound like the beautiful language it is. Meantime, my fingers are hurting from being crossed so that I might sustain the effort.
You know that I like to beat up on myself from time to time, so I’m just a tad annoyed that I didn’t start sooner. But I’m also kinda quietly proud of my progress so far.
I wonder if I shouldn’t think about doing a little Spanish on the side too? I really like the food in all the Spanish speaking countries I’ve been to too. And, who knows, maybe it’s not too late to give up on the notion that I might aspire to, one day, play that old dusty guitar like Carlos Santana!
Hope you’re all having a great weekend! 😜😁
PS … If you’d like to try something a little different for your next vacation, I highly recommend a visit to Canada’s French-speaking regions. It’s like a little touch of Europe, right here in North America. And give it a try, test drive your few words of French! And wait ’til you try the food, I’m going to do a post later on the fast food in Québec. Mmmmm! ! 🤪