Being in Chicago has opened doors to all sorts of classes that I can take advantage of--cooking at Sur La Table just around the corner, seminars at the Art Institute that my daughter has introduced me to and starting today, twice weekly French conversation classes at Alliance Française. I can't tell you how excited I am to get back into learning French.
Living in Paris for a year, one would think my grasp of the language would have been complete. I can read it with no problem, understand about 90% of what is spoken to me (making for some interesting misunderstandings where the other 10% is concerned) but alas, when it comes to speaking, my brain and my mouth act as though they have never met and I sound like I have swallowed a bunch of marbles. And of course I panic trying to remember gender--is it masculine or feminine and conjugating verbs--well, forget it.
So the terror will set in this afternoon as I put myself out there among others who love the French language as much as I and want to be able to pull off having a conversation in what I feel is the most poetic way of speaking in the world. I feel as though the language fairies are on my side. A new family just moved in next door to me--a family of four who have just been transferred to Chicago from the 15th arrondissement in Paris. The boys, about 8 and 11 years old offered to help me in my education and have promised to speak to me only in French, correcting my mistakes as we go along. I think it's all meant to be!!