“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway might be on to something there…
Just hearing the phrase, “je t’aime” is like a gateway drug into becoming a full-fledged francophile.
I began learning French in sixth grade, mostly because it seemed superior to the other alternative- Spanish, i.e. many repetitions of ‘may yammo’. Little sixth-grade me was all about the chocolate and croissants. If I had known how attractive Enrique Iglesias is, I might have changed my mind… jokes… ANYWAY thus began my Frenchucation (French education.) Learned to conjugate, annunciate, pronounce, memorize vocabulary, all that good stuff. I may not have loved studying all those irregular verbs, but I sure loved drooling over the pictures of delicious foods and picturesque city and countryscapes in my textbooks. In eighth grade my French class spent a weekend in Quebec and I was super pumped to try out my French skills. Until I realized that every single person in Quebec could immediately detect my American accent and would defer to communicating in English. Ah well. Je me souviens, Quebec… je me souviens… (“I remember,” the motto of Quebec)
In high school, I continued taking French and learning about more crazy things like subjunctive verbs and relative pronouns… ick! Dreams of chocolate, puff pastries, and quaint cafés inspired me to keep studyin’. My junior year of high school, I decided to participate in a French Exchange program.
Approximately fifteen students from my high school were matched with fifteen students from Antony, France. Antony is a suburb around twenty minutes south-west of Paris. The French students stayed in our homes for two weeks in October, and us American students stayed in French homes for two weeks in April of the following year. My “corespondent”was a sassy girl named Sara who lived with her mother and two cats in an apartment in Antony. In a nutshell, the experience was one of the highlights of high school. (Sorry, SATS and prom, you didn’t make the cut…)
Now I am looking forward to spending an entire semester studying, living, eating, and breathing FRANCE! Specifically, Paris! My last trip to France was just a quick taste of what the country has to offer, but it left me hungry for more. This time around, I plan on soaking up everything and anything I can. (And eating everything and anything I can.) After all, Paris is a moveable feast, right?