I think you could say i was a bit of a latecomer to the French language. You see, I originally applied to university to study music, but then switched to French on registration day...my decision arose mostly from the fact i would get a year abroad out of it. Experience etc. Definitely no long term plan.
I first visited Paris when i was 19/20 (in my second year of uni!) My French experience prior to this trip was a school exchange with a French girl who lived in Lille, when i was about 12 or 13.
I went to Paris with 2 girlfriends, and to be totally honest with you I did not understand a (French) word the whole weekend! And yet i managed an average of 70% in my first year exams...??
I have plenty of awesome memories from this weekend - none of which involve talking to any French people of course. I do remember discovering Calvin Klein's "Euphoria" perfume, we had so much fun going out (and pre-drinking in the apartment), 2 of us had a fight then we made up, I discovered crêpes and also what i now know to be Rue de Rivoli, which we walked the length of - in heels - to get to the club. We packed it all in you could say. And then some.
|not your average tourist photo|
|taking pre-drinking to a whole new level|
I then visited Paris a handful of times during my final year of university - at that point i could understand and communicate in French thank goodness - and always had a wonderful time (lots of escapades, maybe some of which i will share with you one day!)
But then i moved here. It was the start of my relationship with JB, I had just graduated from Bristol, and I had no plan beyond working in bars during the summer...But i was still super excited. Until i realised...JB had his whole life here, his friends, his job, his music groups,his identity, everything!!! Honestly, i struggled at first. Have you ever been in a situation where you feel you lose yourself a little bit, because you're too busy focusing on trying to fit into someone else's life? (Yes i know, i totally missed the point.)
And the final blow? I thought "at least i can speak French, talk to his friends, communicate etc." But of course i had never been immersed in a group of 20-something Parisians, with their private jokes, their shared memories, the verlain (when you reverse the letters in a word, for example, "merci" becomes "cimer") was hard to keep on top of...
I have since learnt to manage my expectations, and not put too much pressure on myself to move country and have it all figured out within a week or two!
But after 3 and a half years of living in this wonderful city, i have accepted i do not have the right mouth to speak French. Look at Françoise Hardy, Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Tatou and any French female you may stumble upon. My mouth and teeth are not formed like theirs. Sounds weird i know. And i'm not jealous or bitter about it. There is
not much nothing i can do about this and besides, my mouth and teeth are perfect for speaking English, so you win some you lose some.