When we first moved here, we pruned loads of wild looking trees, thinking that they were all fruit trees (it was December and there were no leaves to say otherwise). I had left one smallish budding branch on this particular tree to see what it was when it flowered - it was a magnolia! My French friend Odette later said that she had been horrified to see that it had been pruned, and we are so relieved that it has all grown back with a vengeance!
My poor friend Odette has just lost her husband this week. He has been battling cancer for a while, and it all got too much for him. She came round to tell me today, and we were all in tears. She has been married for 50 years and we are heartbroken to see her so devasted.
On a lighter note, I had my first proper French hairdressing client this week, (I have been doing my French friend Linda's hair for a while now), but this wa a proper paying client! I was so thrilled to get her call. Neither her or her husband speak any English, and it just showed how good my French is getting, as I was able to take directions to her house and discuss how he wanted his hair and have a normal conversation with them. It was a real confidence boost. We came to France only knowing a bit of French, and now 3 years later I can see how different our language skills are. There were times in the past 3 years when I wondered if I would ever understand different verb tenses, was I always destined to speak in the present tense?! Would I ever get the hang of the different order of pronouns and adjectives? And the answer is YES!!! I have got the hang of it all, I can speak in the past, present, future and conditionnel tenses, I can put a sentence together using pronouns and adjectives and all in the right order! I just need to learn more 'normal' words to go in the sentences, you know nouns.
As I go to clients house I have been amazed at the amount of English people who have no intention of learning French, but actually expect their neighbours to learn English!!! They go into shops and doctors surgeries and just push a bit of paper towards the receptionist, or just speak in English and hope that they can be understood. I appreciate that not everyone has an aptitude for languages, and that most of my clients are older than me, and age does play a part in assimilating new skills, but some don't even try. Infuriating!