Here in Melbourne, it is July 14–otherwise meaning, Bastille Day!
To be honest, I am not completely sure of its significance other than what Wikipedia has told me.
Nonetheless–in my effort to be a patriotic spouse of a French national (and to embrace French culture) Jean Philippe and I are celebrating Bastille Day!
Part of this means we are only speaking French to each other today–which is a lot harder than either of us thought it would be.
We almost always speak in English together–and while we may occasionally speak bits of French here and there, we’ve never actually spent an entire day speaking it.
It’s been pretty fun but it has also made me realize I really need to force myself to speak French and make more of an effort to understand.
I’ve spent more than five years studying French–and I am still not fluent.
I’m used to being able to articulate myself decently well in English, so when I speak French and feel like I sound like I have the vocabulary of a child–I get flustered, frustrated, and give up quite easily.
But my husband is French! So I should be taking advantage of this!
When I was in Bordeaux, I should have forced myself to speak French. I was living with a French family, going to a French school–falling in love with a French man.
And yet–I slipped into English anytime I felt my cheeks turn red. At restaurants or cafes, I would helplessly look at Jean Philippe and make him order for me–to save me from any possible embarrassment.
The thing is–I know my French isn’t that bad–but I hate feeling like it could be bad at all! I hate feeling like there may be a possibility someone won’t understand me.
I’m going to try to get myself to speak French more often, but I’m also planning on giving myself bits of homework this summer–before I head off to Bordeaux.
I started a trial with “Frenchpod101” and the website has been quite helpful.
There are a lot of interactive videos and texts to study from and I got myself a little notebook dedicated for my French studies.
I also want to look into getting another job in Bordeaux–one where I’ll have to speak French–or signing up for some formal French classes if they’re not too expensive.
I know I’ll be living in France for quite some time–but I want to get to the point where speaking doesn’t cause me anxiety!
And the only way I will get there is by forcing myself to speak, listen, and read in French–not by running away from it.