Sunday, October 10, 2010

J'aime le Vin

I'm lousy at hobbies. I get bored of things remarkably quickly and have an attention span of a puppy. Over the years, I have accumulated a vast collection of musical instruments, sporting equipment and foreign language dictionaries, all of which now call the space under my bed home.

This week, I add French to the list of things I will try once in the hope of achieving longevity but probably won't. What possessed me to sign up to a 10-week course alludes me as I stare at my assigned homework for the week, willing it to conjugate itself. Actually, I do remember the logic behind this idea. Four years ago, I spent about three days in Paris while backpacking through Europe. After being spoilt by friends and locals in Germany, Italy, England and Crete, my friend Kat and I found ourselves friend-less and French-less in Paris, left to fend for ourselves. We were ignored when we spoke English and our measly attempts at 'Bonjour' and 'oui' did not fool anyone into believing we actually knew what we were talking about. After leaving Paris, I joined the ranks of many non-French speakers in denouncing Paris as a city of inhospitable souls who grunt a lot.

It's taken me four years, but I'm finally ready to give Paris another chance. Like with any break-up, it takes time and distance to allow one to reflect back on the relationship, to forgive the wrong-doings of the past and to take personal responsibility for our actions. Which brings us back to my French conjuguation homework. I am taking French classes so as to demonstrate to the French the changes I have made within myself and to prove that I am willing to make an effort in the relationship. At the very least, I will learn to say, 'I'm sorry. My French is not very good but I'm trying,' and 'I'm not English, I'm from Australia.'

I will report back on my progress. So far, I can say, 'Je m'appelle Biheng. Je suis Australienne. J'aime le vin.' Which translates to, 'My name is Biheng. I am Australian. I like wine.' With a shoddy accent.


  1. LOVE it! Good on you for taking up French... it's something I have in mind for next year! It's such a sexy language so I am sure it will come in useful on your travels. Give Paris another shot... I honestly found it one of the most lovely places I've ever been, and I'm sure my attempts at French were worse than yours :)
    Ps: how's your new job going?

  2. Hey Jac, thanks for the encouragement. I'm sure Paris and I can make up. New job going well too - very happy.

  3. Well Done! I was barely successful in school french but have no desire to speak another language. You have more determination than me and I'm sure you'll make it. Bon Chance, Gillian

  4. That is a brilliant start....good luck with the French, I am sure you will master it easily....xv

  5. It's amazing what a difference attempting to speak a language makes with the locals- be sure to learn the most important thing first which is of course ordering food ;) I can decipher a spainish menu and ask for two spoons and the bill so far hehe. Can't wait to see how your French comes along. I also have a friend in Paris so perhaps we could make a visit of it at some point?