Saturday, January 26, 2013

Little Victories...

26/01/2013

Bonjour mes amis!

Have you ever tried to learn a Foreign Language?  Maybe I should ask it this way...have you ever tried to learn a Foreign Language, when you're not a High School student anymore and REQUIRED to do it?  Well, I'm here to tell you...it's HARD!

Let me start back at the beginning, almost 30 years ago...
(Pardon me while I share a little story today!  I'll throw in some photos so you don't get too bored!)
 
When my husband and I were just about to get married, and were deciding where we were going to live (because he wanted to go to Graduate School), he commented, "Wouldn't it be fun to live in another country for a year or so?  Maybe Japan, or some other place?"  I immediately answered "NO"!  We ended up living in the same State as our Parents for our first five years of Marriage, and that was just fine with Me!

Then, my husband accepted a job in Texas, and we had to move almost 1,000 miles from our family.  As hard as it was, I made my husband promise that I would be able to make regular trips to see my family...and he has held up his end of the bargain.  AND...we stayed in the U.S.A.!!!

Flash forward to Present Day...
He did it!  My husband finally convinced me to go to a Foreign Country for a year, and I now find myself in France!

IT ONLY TOOK HIM 30 YEARS TO CONVINCE ME!

We will celebrate our 30th Anniversary at the conclusion of our year here in France!  And I will be honest...I'm so glad he convinced me.  The time here has clearly been a good Adventure for us in so many ways!

BUT...
I had to learn a Foreign Language...French!

Hello Rosetta Stone! 


Hello Studying and Books!


We've been here for 5 months already, and I still haven't completed the Rosetta Stone 5 CD Program, but I/We are determined to finish it in 2013!
It's the Resolution we made on New Years Eve! 
Honestly, the Rosetta Stone start we had before we came to France was very helpful for me, but just living here and making mistakes and correcting them has made us so much more comfortable with the language.  It's still very hard, though.

Recently, I have had some Little Victories in my conversations in French, and each Victory is so helpful to give me courage.

Let me tell you about yesterday...
I went to the Grocery Store.  I filled up my cart, got in line, and then a girl motioned to me to get in her line as she was opening her Register.  Jackpot!  There was a special coupon offer, and I knew there would be many people at the store.  The lines weren't too long, but everyone had lots to buy, because the coupon was...spend 60 Euros, get 6 Euros off.  You could use up to three coupons.  Now, that's a deal!  I had received two coupons the week before, so I intended to use them.

I put all my groceries on the belt, greeted the Cashier, and then she asked for my Priority Card.  "No, I don't have one", and I told her so in French, of course.  She responded, "Don't you want to get one?"  "I am only living here for one year" was my reply.  She continued to scan my items.  I started to sack my groceries.  Then, I remembered the Coupons.  I got them from my purse and showed the girl.  "Is it possible for me to use these?"  "No, you don't have a Priority Card."  Ugh!  She told me she was "Sorry".  Again, she asked, "Wouldn't you like to get a Priority card?"  She got out a sheet, and I then realized that I could sign up for one right then and there! No standing in line...

***Mind you...the only reason we haven't gotten a Priority Card for this store up until now, is that every time Dr. J is with me, there's a line at the Customer Service Desk, and we didn't want to wait.  When I'm by myself, I didn't want to try to get one, because I thought I wouldn't be able to speak enough French...

Back to the Story...
I started to fill in my name, but then thought I better ask a question...(in French, of course)!  "Everything here is in my husband's name!  Is it okay for me to use my name?"  "Yes, it doesn't matter" was her reply.  Awesome for me!  As soon as I finished (while the next person in line was being ever so patient!), she gave me my new Priority Card, and then my Receipt for the Groceries, and showed me how much I would save with the Priority card.  (Of course, somewhere in there I swiped my Debit Card and paid the bill, too!)  It was over 15 Euros in Savings!!!  Then, she explained, "You cannot get the coupons and savings off on this bill, but it will take it off when you use your Priority card the next visit!"  Okay, I can live with that!  I left the Store quite happy...that is, after I told her "I understand.  Merci Beaucoup!"  and all that, and I politely wished her a "Good Day!" and "Good-bye!"  Sweet Girl!

My New Priority Card!

It's a silly little thing really, but it was a Little Victory for me to handle all by myself!  I understood most of what she said, and was able to respond to her so she understood me!

It seems I've had occasion for several "more than one sentence" conversations in French lately...

1.  On the Phone to change Jewelius' piano lesson time!
2.  At the Bakery to pay the "tab" for Desserts that Jewelius and Ms. Emerald purchased with inadequate funds!
3.  At a Small Bible Study Group, so I could share!
4.  In a Dressing Room in a Store when Ms. Emerald and I wanted to go in together!
5.  I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting to mention...hmmm!

Anyway, my hubby has been telling me to speak French with someone every day, but I try to tell him that, He gets to go to Work and speak French with people who know and care about him, and care that he learns the language.  I am "out and about" seeing Strangers most days, and it's quite embarrassing to "flub up", but I'm trying, and it seems that now I am being given opportunities left and right!  I've found here that if you just try to speak French with people, even though you can't do it perfectly, atleast trying helps you learn something, AND the other person is often more patient with you for atleast trying.  This is what I've learned.

I still count all these as "Little Victories", and they give me a Big Smile, because 30 years ago, I never would have been ready to do this!

Pardon me while I send a little message to my husband in this post...

"Joyeux 30e Anniversaire à l'avance,
le Dr J! 
Je t'aime!"

(Now, I better go send him an email, to be sure he reads this Post!)

Thank you for bearing with me while I shared my life story "Little Victories"...and...I do wish all of you a "Jewel" of a weekend!
Jan
P.S.  We got snow last night!

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