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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Je parle en peu l'Francias. Pas bien.

Last night I went to the Old Fashioned Melodrama, here in Cheyenne. I'm actually performing an olio act later this evening. Me and my friend Rory are doing a comedy routine that I wrote and by wrote I mean half the jokes are old vaudeville standbys. Perhaps I'll post the script later, and see what people think.

But this entry is not about Le Melodrama Antique, but is about how ashamed I am by something that happened there. A good friend of mine, who was playing the piano that night, brought a French foreign exchange student with her and insisted that I speak with him. That's partially because I studied French pretty hardcore in highschool to the point where I actually lived with a French family for a bit my senior year in Le Puy. Since then, I haven't really studied french much but I remember at various parties if I got drunk enough and met someone else who studied French, we would have superficial conversations in the language.

But upon meeting this teenager, I was barely able to cobble together a "bonjour". I wanted to say, "It's a pleasure meeting you," but for some stupid reason I couldn't reason out in my brain how to say it. It reminds me how I knew a guy in college from the Philippines who would sometimes forget how to use his native tongue he had been surrounded by English for so long. Nonetheless, I felt like a complete jackass, for being so unable to make conversation with the Frenchman.

For a while, it was a dream of my best friend and I to compete on America's The Amazing Race. Having spent two and a half years in Ukraine she knows her pidgin Russian pretty well. Also, she used to be the president of the Spanish club back in high school. I claimed that I could get us around in Francophones, and I had a somewhat working knowledge of German. But if I can barely make polite conversation with a French highschool student, what does that say about my ability to circumnavigate the globe? 

The lesson I've learned is to bone up on my French. I've discovered a couple of French podcasts that I'll listen to, and perhaps dive back into learning the language. If anyone has tips or pointers, please let me know. Au revoir! 

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