Total language immersion is extremely difficult (oh really? no shit). Even one successful conversation in the day fills me with encouragement, but it’s exhausting. I haven’t felt like this since my Erasmus days in Italy, but even then I could actually speak the language. Here it’s a headache to churn out one sentence, a good headache though. Because it’s more than asking for a pain au chocolat or a glass of wine sitting outside the cafe in Bordeaux. You’re speaking with people who know less of your language than you of theirs, and if you don’t make that effort, then you’ve lost the game. Why did you bother coming all this way? What help are you to them right now? Sat in a busy class with rowdy groups of kids who refuse to speak a word of English or finish their exercise, you realise that there’s little option but to stammer out those little conversational phrases you know, screw the hesitance, screw the mashed up tenses. Because one thing I’ve started to realise is that their stubbornness isn’t misbehaviour, it’s the same issues that I’m encountering, it’s their lack of confidence. And once you realise that, things get a lot easier.
If there’s any way to rigorously learn a language: go practice with kids, they are very unforgiving.
What am I reading? Still on Hunting and Gathering
What am I listening to? Painful French language podcasts
What did I eat? More leftover profiteroles and éclairs, oh it’s a hard life