We are right on the brink of Christmas vacation and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Christmas markets in the Centre-Ville with Vin Chaud (hot wine) that my tongue is still recovering from hahaha, and some snow from time to time down in the village, but more so up in the mountains. I am one week away from finishing my first 10-week term of school here in France and my daughter has now been at her school for over 3 months. As cool as it is seeing the town decked in Christmas lights and markets everywhere, I think the biggest Christmas miracle is just getting to this point.
I was told that within 3 months my daughter would understand quite a bit of French and speak a decent amount and I doubted that very much. She was very resistant to it and her behavior was not great because she was frustrated. Needless to say, those studies and those who told me the 3-month mark was going to see a change, was 100% right. In the last two weeks, she has begun speaking full sentences in French, she is teaching me small words that she now knows in French. At school, she speaks mostly French with her friends. It is rudimentary 5-year-old French, but it is still something. As a result, her behavior and attitude have done a 180. In the last week alone she is has started being bolder with me in French. Speaking to me, answering me, or asking me general questions in French. It is spectacular to see. So I am very very excited to see where she ends up by July. It is going to be spectacular. Her growth in the language is just amazing.
As for myself, my oral and reading comprehension have really improved. I am more confident speaking though it is by no means perfect. I am able to get a point across. My problem is that I rarely practice French outside of School. I am making more of an effort to watch more things or interact more in French but I actually find that harder to do because most of my friends (native and non-natives alike) speak both French or English. I will get more of a chance this coming Christmas breaks as we will be spending Christmas up North with cousins and they know that I am trying to improve my French and need to practice. Meeting with them is always nice and a good gauge of my improvement. I am excited to see how they respond when Evangeline speaks to them in French, as she has up until recently tried to speak more English with them than French.
As I am sitting writing this she is sitting in bed next to me singing some random songs and is switching back from French to English words and phrases. It is just amazing and it has been worth the wait and months of personal frustration.
Oh, and as a side note, Star Wars came out a whole TWO days early here in France. In French of course, although it does turn out that a nearby town has showings in English. Just FYI as great as seeing movies are in the Native Language of the country you are in. There is some merit to seeing it in its original language. First of the dialog was so complicated in French I missed it all. Second, a lot of humor and cultural reference gets lost in translation, literally. So I suggest if it is a movie you really like, see it in the native language but if you can see it in the original language with subtitles as well. Which is what I have done now.
Until next time