Tuesday, May 6, 2014

En route to French class....

A crisp and sunny morning greets me as I walk out the front door of The Humble Bungalow.

The cats look through the window as I descend the steps...
If they could only talk.
I wonder what they might be thinking.

Oh look she's leaving us alone again...where is she going and how long will she be gone?
Lets nibble that new white hydrangea that she has on the counter in the kitchen!
No I think we should roll around on the new bed cover and leave as much hair as we can on it...
oh forget that...
let's just sleep until she gets home and then act aloof as if we could care less that she even went out!


I had to stop and take a few pictures en route to French Class to share with you...


Two varieties of clematis were happily tangled and twined along a cedar fence spilling forth toward the sidewalk.
I love the pretty combination chosen by the green thumbed gardener who tends this lush green space.


Wisteria loves to climb and demands a strong reinforced structure or it will pull down eaves and drain spouts.


Ah look at those delicate pendulous tendrils of mauve flowers.


Their scent is soft and fragrant rather evocative 
and I think most exotic and sweet.

We have some new class members for our new session of French.
The core group have returned and it is wonderful to be reconnecting with this eclectic group of women.
Their stories are interesting and romantic...
many are seasoned travellers, 
one has a French family whose children attend SJD in French Immersion
 several, myself included, are planning trips to Paris, 
another is marrying a Frenchman and will soon be living in France!

Our instructor is kind and gentle and encourages us to speak freely in French.

My ability to speak the language is very weak, although my comprehension and writing are much better.
Madame does not judge us harshly or laugh at our expense.
We laugh at each other as we struggle to find the right words which are not easily found.

I highly recommend taking a course in something out of one's comfort level 
as it forces you to get creative and use those brain cells.
"Use it or Lose it!"

Meeting new people is a bonus and easy when you have something in common...
it's surprising how fast we have connected as a group...
united by the simple desire to learn a new language.

I'm hoping to continue taking these lessons until I am fluent.
My goal is to be speaking, reading and understanding French.

I'd love to explore and expand my study of France and reading blogs is an easy way to further broaden that knowledge.

Do you have any favourite blogs that focus on French Life or travel in France?
Perhaps you'd be kind enough to share them.


Take time to stop and smell the flowers...


32 comments:

  1. you might like http://breadispain.me/

    I think this is a lovely well written blog about expat life in France and writes great posts about language differences and cultural nuances.

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  2. You understand the thoughts of your cats...perfectly. So funny. I'll have a peek at what blogs I've found on life in France, but I do follow and enjoy quite a few.
    I can't speak the language worth a damn, but understand much of what is spoken to me. Three years of French 1, both in HS and University will do that for you. My motivation was low back then and I curse my ignorance now.

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    1. Oh I am sure that it would come back to you if you took a refresher course.
      I took 5 years of French and have retained a fair bit of it but am totally struggling with conversations! I am determined to work hard and will hopefully improve...

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  3. You will be able to speak and understand spoken French if you are in a class where you feel
    comfortable. Back in our high school days, the emphasis was on written work rather than on oral expression. If you use Yahoo to read news, which I do when I am travelling, click the flag at the top to the French one and you can follow French news and watch interviews in French. Last year, when I went for conversation with La Belle Isabelle, she had me listen to Jacques Chirac. We don't have to speak quickly, we have to speak clearly with special attention to the vowels. The clematis and wisteria look beautiful. I'm home in just over a week so I'm glad that
    May is in bloom chez nous.

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    1. Our instructor suggests listening to the CBC in French and watching French TV too...

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  4. You may know this already: "La Presse" has a free tablet edition available. Every day a new, francophone newspaper. The crossword is an interesting exercise, too.

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    1. Oh and I do love a crossword! That's a great idea elke!

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  5. Lovely photos, as always. I commend you for learning a language at our age - not for the faint of heart!

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  6. For travel information in Paris, I subscribe to the Secrets of Paris newsletter (secretsofparis@gmail.com). The writer is an American woman living in Paris. She leads some tours herself but the newsletter is general travel info.

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    1. Oh can you imagine how wonderful it must be to be living in Paris?
      I'll certainly check out her newsletter....thank you Cathy.

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  7. I love wisterias, but I know they can be a tough plant to handle. I still mastering English, which is my native language.

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    1. Kathy that's just a typo....I have that happen frequently too!

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  8. Try "Provence Post" and "Lost in Arles" ... the first is mostly info and the other has fabulous pictures and beautiful commentary. I envy you your upcoming trip. And I enjoy your blog a lot. I live in Victoria too :)

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    1. Thank you Jo-Anne...
      It's nice to know that you are in the same city...how did you discover my humble blog?
      I met 3 bloggers who blog from Victoria for tea at The White Heather a few months ago...do you have a blog?

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  9. I'm so impressed with your steps to learn the language. I'm one of these people who figures I can just pick up the language there which is, of course, ridiculous. I had to file a minor police report in Paris and when I read the translation of what happened it bore no resemblance to what I thought I was saying!

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    1. Oh that could have been quite funny as well as possibly slightly embarrassing!

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  10. I admire you for wanting to learn the language before your trip to Paris. 25 yrs. ago I came to live in France with only a little of the French language, mainly what I had learnt at school. My advice would be... always carry a pocket dictionary with you and you'll be surprised at how many of the French understand and speak English. but pretend they don't. Just try, they love it even if you can't understand what they say, when they answer you. Don't worry, they always talk so quickly. My favourite blog is Carol Gillott
    Blog:http://Parisbreakfasts.blogspot.fr . She is full of info... and knows Paris like the back of her hand.
    Bonne chance et avoir un temps merveilleux à Paris.

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    1. Thank you Barbara...I will add Carol's blog to my list.
      I bought the Rick Steve's French Phrase book and it is small enough to pop into a purse or a pocket and a small dictionary would be a good idea...perhaps I can get an IPhone app with one of those.

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  11. such lovely photos...the clematis is amazing, so pretty! I have been studying french for several years and don't think I will ever be fluent but I enjoy it, such a beautiful language.

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    1. I possibly was a bit too ambitious with the term fluent!

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  12. I follow Kristin on her blog- http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/
    She's a transplanted Arizonian (?) , married to a Frenchman, has two teenage children, and writes about everyday life in Provence.

    I enjoy your thoughts, rambles, observations and musings. Greetings from the Lower Mainland where the clematis and wisteria are just a little behind Victoria's.

    -Marianne

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    1. I read a book that might have been written by Kristin...it was very entertaining.
      We are so lucky to live in BC as it sounds like the weather back east has been cold and they are still waiting for Spring to arrive...

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  13. Beautiful wisteria, and I think you speak "cat" very well! The French class sounds wonderful. You probably already know about the free language classes online through DuoLingo. they're kind of fun to work through.

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    1. Oh I had no idea of that site...I will explore it online...thank you!

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  14. Wisteria is such a lovely plant, beautiful in scent and appearance. I'm so glad you are enjoying your French class - it's a beautiful language. The previous comments contain some of my favorite blogs and sites for French as well. Peu à peu.

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    1. That's another new one...you are so helpful. I like the comme francaise site that you suggested too Lorrie.

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  15. Fluency is like saying 'how long is a piece of string'! I have been married to a Spaniard for 55years, I realise that the beautiful complexity and regional differences of a language means that only a native speaker would be truly fluent. However I so admire your dedication in wanting to be. Bon courage! Jenny.

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  16. I know what you mean...it was an overly ambitious thought on my part!
    There is no way I'll be fluent...as long as I can buy food, order a coffee, get directions and shop I should be fine!

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  17. I admire your gumption, in taking on another language.
    I love the wisteria photos. I planted wisteria at the cottage and was amazed when it started to bloom several years ago. Sadly it's coming down when I re-side the cottage, as the arched trellis is old and unsalvageable. I may not be able to save my wisteria.

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