Well, actually, it doesn't feel all that much like I'm living in France. Alas. I still live in Ottawa, which is less than glamorous. But these days, instead of sitting in my office overlooking the Supreme Court of Canada, I'm trapped in a very small and somewhat grubby classroom in an office building studying French. Still, I can dream that when I step out at the end of the day, I might find myself in front of Paris's Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Montmartre.
Or at least la Tour Eiffel:
These days, it's just me and my French instructors -- there are three of them who rotate so no one (of them) gets too tired. I, on the other hand, have no one to rotate with. I'm studying French from 9-5, Monday to Friday, for the next four months (well, actually 3 months but don't tell my employer!)
I'm just now finishing the first week of intensive French training designed to lift me from the intermediate level -- which is considering bilingual but at a basic standard -- to an advanced level that will presumably render me fluent in French. Which would be great -- I'd love to be fluent in at least one of Canada's two official languages. (What a shame that Italian isn't considered an essential language here.)
But the one-on-one classes all day, every day, are a bit exhausting. Still, I shouldn't complain -- as my friend Jim very succinctly put it: "You're being paid to learn." And it's true. My bosses want me to spend from now through October working strictly on improving my French. Don't come into the office, they say -- your job is to become fluently bilingue.
It has made me realize how much time I do fritter away in the office, reading blogs and newspages, going for coffee with colleagues, and such. No time for that now!
This should be a productive summer -- at least until I leave for Italy in mid-September. I"ll have to finish my French studies after that!