Attempting to speak another language is difficult . . . well, it is for me. I have written about my struggles before. I started the journey a tad over two years ago. I use several sources for my lessons, mainly Duolingo. As a supplement, I use Rosetta Stone, Youtube, podcasts and even a French XM Radio station. It was on my way to work and listening to French radio when I became so frustrated, once more. My thinking is that I should be far ahead of where I believe I am. I am picking up a word or a phrase or two, but no real significant chunk of the news reports being spoken on the radio station. At this exact trip to work was when my para-professional assistant called in sick and a substitute was sent in her place.
When the substitute walked in that morning, I recognized her from working around the school, but I had never really spoken to her. But this particular morning, she walked in and greeted me with a good morning as she sat her bags by the circulation desk. I immediately picked up on an accent. Êtes-vous Francais? I asked. Her face lit up. In French, she told me she was and that she moved her from Africa with her husband. Wait. I understood that! I was so shocked that I understood exactly what she was saying that something happened: I relaxed. I replied that I had been learning French for over two years. Madame Fabu then complemented me on how smoothly I was speaking and said that as small as my accent was she thought that I had lived in France for a while. What?! Now, I am walking on cloud nine.
With a breath of fresh air and confidence, the rest of the day was spent asking questions and getting clarification on the 8,000 verbs and tense combinations in the French language. Yes, 8,000. I also found out that she teaches private lessons too, so I will definitely be getting in on that. One of the big pieces of advice that Madame Fabu gave me just stuck in head: you must have conversation. She told me that a majority of her lessons is forcing the students to tell, in French, about various things in their life. I told her the fear of perfection is what holds me back. She said that it was the same for her learning English. I have not put my finger on what it is about Madame Fabu, but it was rather easy to talk to her and very enjoyable, for maybe the first time in my endeavor. Merci, madame.