I’m forgetting French!!
This isn’t exactly a sudden realization but tonight while thinking about the implications of it, I was so overwhelmed and horrified that I had to put it into concrete words.
I had been seeing the signs for a while.
The other day, a friend of mine sent us a really cute picture of herself and in response I started typing “Ma petite …” and then blank! My mind went blank!
I couldn’t think of the French word for “girl”.
I racked my brains and with increasing alarm as the cursor kept blinking in front of me, I realized that I didn’t remember!
I really did not remember.
I tried to calm down and thought… okay, surely I haven’t forgotten… *deep breath* I know that the French word for boy is “garçon” but what in the world is girl?
Then I thought for a while (believe me when I say it took me at least two whole panic filled minutes) and thankfully remembered that it was “fille”.
Last night (the aforementioned anecdote long forgotten) I tried having an imaginary conversation in French in my head. It was supposed to be one sided, and I was supposed to be speaking on the phone with some random Francophone.
That time too I realized that I couldn’t translate most of the stuff that I wanted to say, or in fact any of the stuff!
So all I kept saying was “Oui.. Oui!”
And then again “Oui. Je le sais.”
“Non! Mais tu ne comprends pas!!! C’est très importante”
“D’accord. Oui. Au revoir. Merci”
And that was it.
It wasn’t even a real thing. I was so ashamed of myself!
Tonight I consciously decided to address the issue and not procrastinate about it.
I freaked out instead.
See- I’m not sure you understand. French was one of my things.
I was the girl in school who scored the highest in the subject and loved the language with a passion.
(I was also a bit of a pompous ass when it came to other people’s pronunciations but that’s not really the point here.)
I was planning to do atleast a Bachelor’s Degree in French (back when things were different).
I settled for learning it as a language in college for 2 years.
I remember an incident from two years ago as well, and that was very nightmarish too.
So back then I wasn’t aware of the fact that I actually needed to practise French by myself during the holidays… and therefore during the 4 month vacation we got I didn’t study a word of French.
Fast forward to the beginning of the Academic year where one day I sat with my head in my hand racking my brain thinking about what the word “pain” meant in English.
I was horrified. How could I forget!?!?
Then my French teacher smacked me on the head and told me it’s “bread”.
I was so ashamed, I felt like killing myself right at that moment.
(And while we’re on the topic, it wouldn’t do to not mention my French teacher who is absolutely fantastique!
I mean, her French teaching skills and love for the language is just a part of it. As a person too, she is very inspiring and all-round amazing! I should maybe write about all that, but aah… you know me. No promises).
After that I revised everything again and then I knew French but it just wasn’t the same. I don’t think it ever will be.
Because the first things we forget are not the grammar rules or spellings of words but those little nuances of the language or the tricks we made up to remember something. That’s true for me at least.
For the next two years I studied French determined to take it siriusly and never forget anything and I did it, for the most part.
I scored 98 on 100 in my French exam and also won a French competition or two.
But after that, full stop.
Even if I wanted to I couldn’t have learnt French.
I have a lot of other stuff to study.
If I have holidays I mostly just spent all my time reading books (English ones), or watching movies (mostly English) (if they’re not English, they have English subtitles) or generally doing anything to improve my English rather than French.
This year, when I had a month long holiday in June I decided to apprentice at my French teacher’s classes.
I’d teach French to all the little kids, the basic stuff.
And it worked out fine, for like two weeks (they all called me Mademoiselle and everything) but then I couldn’t do it anymore; my holiday was cut short, I had to go visit my aunt (obligations, obligations…) and yeah, that was the end of it.
All of that hardly matters now because I never have holidays, and never will.
What do I dooooo?!?! 😥
I don’t wanna lose a part of myself like this.
And don’t give me all that BS about “If you really love something and want to do it, you’ll stop making excuses and find time for it. And if you can’t then maybe you don’t deserve to do it after all”
Funnily enough I’d be the first one to say that- and I still tell myself the same.
But slowly I’m realizing that sometimes it really and truly isn’t possible to do it all.
Like, let’s do a rough calculation.
A day has 24 hours.
I spend 7 hours (if those many) sleeping.
10 hours in classes.
So these 17 hours are not at all an option.
Then there’s say at least one hour that I spend travelling to and from my classes, getting ready etc.
So 24-18= 6 hours.
I have all of 6 hours to cram everything in (and notice how I haven’t deducted my dinner time or bathing time or anything of that sort from these 6 hours).
And that’s simply the hours we counted, my energy levels and adrenaline are at an all time low.
I come home and I’m like:
Also, there’s homework. Whether I like it or not.
Now you tell me, how am I supposed to maintain a blog, read a book or two every month (Ha! I remember a time when I read those many in less than a week), study, socialize and all the while try to keep my sanity in all of 6 hours a day?!?!?!