Parlez-vous anglais?

23 02 2009


I know that I promised to post pictures of my apartment, but I lied. I just absolutely had to get this off my chest.

I’ve been in Paris for exactly a month, and as much as I love living here, there’s one thing that’s been bothering me for the past month. I find myself speaking English way too often. If anything my experience in Paris so far, has been the exact opposite of Lyon –language wise.

Most people that know me know that I’ve lived in France before as a language assistant. When I was initially applied as a language assistant, on the application you were given the choice of three regions. I remember choosing the Academy of Lyon only because I knew that Lyon was the second largest city in France — no matter how much I travel, I can’t seem to adapt to small towns. I figured that as a smaller city it would probably be less international than Paris. After my language experience in Tokyo, where I lived for 2 and a half years without picking up much of the language — other than the basics — I figured that I would have the chance to speak French more often in Lyon than if I were living in Paris.

In the end I got placed in St. Etienne, a podunk town without any redeeming qualities, located an hour train ride outside of Lyon. And although I resented being placed there during those initial first 9 months in France, in retrospect I am extremely thankful that I had the full immersion in French culture that I would have never had in Paris and am still not getting.

And as much as I know that people mean well, it drives mean absolutely crazy when I meet a French person and as soon as they find out that English is my first language, well then we absolutely should speaking it. It doesn’t matter than we’re in France. Obviously I want to spend every moment of my time in France speaking English! Gahh! See I feel better now.

With that in mind, my language skills have plateau-ed. Although I speak French fluently and without any difficulty on a day to day basis, I still don’t feel like I’m quite where I want to be. Particularly after the feedback that I received from an interview that I recently had (which is another story altogether — best saved for another post). So with the recommendation of a new friend that I’ve made here in Paris, I’m going to take language classes at the Sorbonne — schedule and finances permitting, with the hopes of passing the DALF C1 exam.

I’ve reached as far as I possibly can on my own — and because I never took a single language class the entire time I was previously living in France. I seriously need my ass kicked by the grammar police. Especially when it comes to writing.

p.s. I do hope that you like the cosmetic changes that I made to the blog. The other look was just too boring for words. And that picture of the streetcar — lame!



24 11 2008

As I was walking home from the library this evening, I had a brief flashback to the giddiness that I felt the day after Barack Obama was elected President. I actually wrote this post the night after the American elections. And even though a few weeks have passed, I think it might still be worth posting. obama-hope

I’m feeling hopeful for the future. Even though I’m not American it feels good to see my face reflected in their world leader. In a world where being Black often feels like a burden or a stigma. And after hearing “No you can’t.” for too long to my ambitions and aspirations, as well as being looked down on with pity from those with seemingly good intentions, yet painfully obvious and transparent with how they really feel. It feels good to finally hear, “Yes you can!” That’s what the election felt like to me.

America has surpassed Canada. Daring to meet at the table of race relations, when Canada hasn’t even opened the door to the room, preferring to pretend out of ignorance, discomfort or just plain guilt that race is an issue that no longer exists.

“Yes we can.”

Yes it is an an issue. After listening to a speech that was so hopeful and optimistic for the future, it brought tears to my eyes to see people so excited and full of optimism for what is yet to come. It was also a day for the first time in my lifetime that I got to see a democratic election the way it was meant to be.

People were actually excited about electing a leader, rather than just going through the motions the way us Canadians have with our election. After re-electing Stephen Harper, even after his lacklustre and unimaginative campaigning, it seems like we’re the ones who aren’t ready for change. After 8 years of feeling smug, it looks like the shoe is on the other foot.


7 09 2008

I was walking down the street in Chinatown the other day and this homeless guy was staring at me. I thought for sure that he was going to ask me for money, but instead he shouted, “I love the way you dress!” LOL!

It just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Plus it made me smile.