Saturday, 9 February 2008

Spring has sprung

The weather is absolutely glorious at the moment. Daytime temperatures of between 20-23 degrees C. My crocuses are all in flower around the garden, with daffodils ready to flower any day. I have a big Magnolia tree covered in buds, which is going to look spectacular.

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!


aims said...

A magnolia tree!! Break out the mint julep and sun hats - parasols and lace gloves...I'll call Rhett and see if he can come over...sigh

Stew said...

Felicitations! J'ai lû dans le journal, un histoire d'une jeune famille anglaise qui produit les saucisses. Complêtement inattendu, les plupart des ces clients sont francais.
J'espère que cette cliente n'est que la premiere.

Breezy said...

Get you! getting out of the English ghetto well done

Debra in France said...

Hi Aims, Rhett can call by at any time! How romantic it all sounds.

Salut Stew, merci beacoup et j'espere aussi qu'il n'est pas le premier.

Hi Breezy, how chuffed was I?

Frankofile said...

Re language skills: I know quite a few couples where he leaves the language skills to her. Time for the women to strike, I say!

Debra in France said...

Hi frankophile, yes I know people like that too! I have to say though, that I am a gob on legs and love to chat, so I am generally happy to do all the learning and talking.

Almost American said...

I'm hoping to plant a magnolia tree in the back yard this spring. It will never be in flower in February though! Today's high temperature was about minus 16 celsius I believe, and snow and freezing rain forecast for tomorrow :-(

I just don't understand the people who move to another country and don't make any effort to learn the language. Even moving from the UK to the USA, I've made an effort to learn to speak American! (And yes, sometimes it feels almost like a different language!)

Debra in France said...

Hi Almost American, lovely to hear from you. I know what you mean by learning American. I lived in Dallas for a short time, and when I was going outside the appartment one day and my flat mate (Texan) asked where I was going. I told her I was going to take the rubbish to the skip. 'Where?' 'The skip?' 'What's a skip, have I got one? where is it?' she said in a very excited voice. When I told her what it was, she was very dejected, and said 'oh, you mean the dumpster!'