Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Feeling French

That first post was kind of lame... I was trying to figure something out. For some reason, the background isn't showing up right and I'm not really sure how to fix that. I guess I'll fiddle with it some more.

Here's a little about who I am and my purpose in creating this blog. First, my background in French. I started learning French in second grade when my family moved to Australia. You're probably wondering, "Why French in Australia?" I'm not really sure. I guess they just try to bring their kids up to be cultured. I think it's a good idea... But more on that later.

After moving back to the States, I had a little hiatus from learning French. Granted, I'm pretty sure the only things I picked up from my second-grade French classes were "le chat noir," "Père Noël," and that my name was pronounced "Rah-SHELL." But I still loved it. From then on, so many of my childhood games (I'd call them "house," but they were always much more complicated) were set in France. All the stories this young, aspiring author wrote were set in France, too. 

When I started middle school, our school didn't have many elective options. While all my friends were clamoring to get into Home Ec. or Spanish, I gleefully enrolled in the petite French 1 class. From there, it took off. The more I heard and attempted to speak this beautiful new language (well, new to me), the more I loved it and the culture it came from. I found myself in AP French my senior year of high school organizing parties for the elitist AP French Club that my class invented. We thought we were so cool wandering the halls with our matching T-shirts speaking our limited French to each other. All the other AP language teachers complained... But our French teacher loved it. What

In college I minored in French and spent a term on study abroad in France right before I got married. Now I miss it so much and try everything I can to recreate the magical tastes, sights, sounds and feelings of being there. I'm not sure when I'll get to go back, seeing as Mr. Hawks doesn't exactly like to travel.... But I'm still dreaming. :)

One of my biggest worries upon graduating from college was losing my French. I only know a few Francophones, and I don't speak with them too often. One way I found to keep up my French comprehension is listening to French radio. Here's an awesome website that has tons of online radio stations: I've been listening to the regional radio stations. They're interesting, because you get everything from Delilah-esque shows and random/unknown American music to football matches. It brings to mind the crazy taxi rides we took with the radio blaring. Sigh.... Good times. :)

Then there's always the movie thing, changing your language track to French. I've had a hard time finding movies that have French language tracks lately, which is frustrating. All the Disney movies (which in my opinion are the best to watch in a different language) only come with Spanish tracks in the U.S. They'll say they have French on the cardboard box around the DVD box, but when you look at the actual box it says that the French versions are only sold in Canada. Lame. 

A lot of older movies, however, have French tracks. Paris When It Sizzles is a fun one in French. And Ever After is amazing in French. Sometimes other languages sound funny, because they don't use similar expression when they say things, but the voices in Ever After have a lot of expression. And it's fairly easy to understand. Plus, it has a little bit of French history, which is cool if you've been to the Val de Loire and seen all the castles Fronçois Ier built because he's in the movie! When I was in France, we visited Amboise, the castle where Leonardo Da Vinci spent most of his time in France and where he's buried, so it's fun to watch that movie and think that I'd been to the real castle. (They don't use the real one in the movie.) I'm pretty sure we went back to the hotel and watched that movie after visiting Amboise.

Well, that's all for today. A bientôt!

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