Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December 19: Healing

I'm participating in #reverb10, a month-long challenge to blog every day of December based on prompts provided here.

Prompt: Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)

I rarely get sick (except when I got what I think was food poisoning on Sunday night, which is why I’m a little behind on these prompts). So I don’t need any healing right?

But if I could take this prompt in a little bit of a different direction, I think enrolling in French class has done a fair amount of “healing” for me. I enrolled in my weekly Alliance Française courses as soon as I got my job (re: could afford them). I usually take Thursday night classes, which always tends to be THE night when coworkers are grabbing drinks, the Chicagoist staff has their monthly happy hour or friends are meeting up for a trivia night. I love doing all those things. But I have this thing about missing French classes – it's something I don't do.

People always ask me if I’m fluent in French, and I never know what to say. Learning this language is a continuous and evolving process. I have worked really super unbelievably hard over the past however many years to learn it, and these classes help me not only keep up with it, but also learn more about what continues to be a boggling and complex language for me to wrap my head around.

See, I’m not good at learning another language. I took four years of French in high school only to be placed in FRENCH 1 after a placement exam before my first year of college. Part of that had to do with a pretty awful teacher. But part of it also had to do with my brain not retaining information very well. All throughout college, French was a struggle. When I studied abroad, which was five or six years after I had first step foot in a French class, I flailed. I couldn’t speak it.

Like I said, I've come a long way since then, and it’s taken work to get to where I am. There's a lot of French in my head, and I’m terrified of losing it. With my weekly classes, it’s nice to step into a no English zone for a couple hours a week. These classes remind me of how much I have learned and how much more I have to learn. This is the nourishment my brain needs to continue to grow and learn with a language I love.

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