Back to school.


This week marks the start of my official French lessons. Turns out that pillow talk isn’t enough to learn a new language. I was hopeful that a language school in my new town would offer classes for me, but they have not been helpful, and their private lessons are quite expensive (or, trés cher, as they say in French). So V turned to the French equivalent of Craig’s List, Leboncoin, to find a private tutor. Leboncoin is also where we found my car and half the furniture for our apartment.

(I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it has been to have V around to navigate all the little details of French life for me. Finding a French teacher, buying a car and settling insurance details… and as I write this, he’s in the middle of a twenty minute phone call to the cell phone company about why I do not yet have my SIM card.) 

We identified two different French teachers and I “interviewed” them both this week in an initial French lesson – Valerie was yesterday, and Noemi was today. Valerie knew she had some competition but Noemi came in blind. And it seems like she will be the better teacher for my learning style. She had props (postcards) and actually knows how to speak English as well, so she can help me when I’m grasping for a vocabulary word. Which, at this point, is just about every other word. 

At the end of the lesson Noemi asked if I wanted homework. First time in my life that I’ve been excited to accept homework! She also suggested that I read children’s books to improve my vocabulary, and that I watch French TV each night. Also the first time that I’ve been assigned television watching for homework! She said that learning the vocabulary will involve a lot of memorization – no sweat, I said, after medical school this should be pas de problem.

The cost of private lessons – conducted in my home – is surprisingly affordable. Less than 20 euros per hour. 

Wish me luck! This whole “not speaking French” thing is getting quite tiresome.

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