Not only did I visit new countries with languages unknown to me, but I also went back to that piece of Europe I had been to before with a language I had flirted with: France.
It was once discussed in this blog how a bad choice in my French teacher at school cut my promising future—my current present—as an artificial francophone short and how the coming of two Breton guys to the lab during my master’s awoke that language from its sleep within me.The two days I spend in Paris, I tried to use nothing but the native language. Actually, those were all cheap manual situations: at the hostel, at the restaurant, the public transport… In fact, joining practical and interesting, the book I took to kill time in the airports was precisely a cheap French manual. A novel wouldn’t have lasted enough and I wouldn’t have reread it the same month.
In the same city I was exposed to less predictable, yet handleable, contexts. In the library of the Pompidou Centre, I invested some hours in watching the news and reading comics in French. Tougher was the test in the fancy dress party that actually wasn’t, since it’s not that easy to keep up with a group ethylic-festive conversation with background music.
However, there’s always a good and patient soul who takes their time to enunciate slowly. On the other side, there’s always that guy who turn up out of the blue, genuinely excited, ‘I speak a bit of Spanish’, and leaves without another word. Well, yes; that is just a bit, indeed.