my love affair with language
Some days, I feel like I’m living inside of a big puzzle. I have to go out of my comfort zone to express myself in a language that is not my own. Because it is challenging, I find it is the most beautiful part about living in a foreign country. Mastering social clues, manipulating words to voice your opinion, expressing regret; these are all things that require a strong command of language, and a strong confidence in self. It is a journey that will never be complete, but gets more and more fulfilling as time goes on.
One thing that makes me smile over and over again, is when I hear a word in conversation – BAM – I am transported back in time to a distant memory. Where do I know that word? Suddenly I am stuck on the Paris périphérique, in stand-still traffic, watching the motards weave ferociously in and out of tiny French cars. Or with my friends in the Vosges on a crisp fall morning, standing over a stove of boiling cinammon applesauce, my only duty to remuer. Maybe around a table of friends in a bar, laughing until I cry as everyone trys to explain a tricky phrase. Strangers are called in for backup – notes are jotted on bar napkins, until a full understanding of faire en sorte is reached. You may be having the worst of days, and the mention of a simple word can remind you of why you came to this crazy place anyway.
The first time I ever came to Paris with my high school French class, I remember almost crying because I wanted to communicate so badly. I was frustrated with myself and knew I would make it my goal to become conversant. When I saw this video, Vivez la langue (put together by a language company) – it gave me chills. This was ME when I came back to Paris to study abroad, mesmorized by my new world: walking around for hours after school to Rue Cler for some belle fraises, or fighting with the Parisian waiter for a café. The beginning of learning a language is all about discovery – and the journey only gets better from there.