Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Back Home - Fatigue

The picture is Cat of COG (Señor Gomez del Camino de la Angustia), escaping the heat in the backyard on my first day home.

Now, it's my fourth day home and the first day on which I feel like a human being of the sort who rises at a reasonable hour, goes to bed at a reasonable hour and is able to do productive things in the time between. Today it's jam making and bread making to go with it.

There is so much I didn't write about from France. My only excuse is that I was incredibly tired by the end of the day. There is something about spending 6 to 8 hours a day working hard on French that is completely exhausting. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but something about having to focus all the time and never have anything - even the simplest things like buying a pencil - be completely easy. Not complaining - it was a fantastic trip. In many ways the best ever. I do have the feeling that someday I might actually be pretty fluent in French.

That time, however, is in the future not the present. We (Sister Rose and I) bumped up to a different level this time, which means that we were (attempting) speaking at a much more complex level. When you reach a higher level of complexity, you also are (temporarily)(I hope) less skilled. Before I went, I had reached a certain level of competence. I knew I could make myself understood about anything practical - shopping, dining, and hotel reception desk kind of thing. This time we talked about politics and different customs of different countries, the environment, the World Cup, the devastating floods in the Var etc. Absolutely wonderful, but much more difficult. We had a fantastic class of bright, motivated people from all over the world. It was sad to say goodbye to them.

In addition to the 3.5 hour class each morning, Rose and I signed up for a twice-weekly supplemental course to work on our comprehension. This was good - but it was very tiring. After the supplementary class, and on afternoons when we didn't have class, we did guided tours (intended for the French, so no mercy shown) visited museums, churches, historical sites, went to fantastic concerts, shopped and visited. In French. Even Rose and I spoke French a lot of the time.

When I say 'Rose and I spoke French' you understand that no one was there to correct us, so probably not great French - but it kept our brains in French mode. Then, a couple of hours in the evening over dinner with our very gracious and kind hosts, who spoke very fast French with a Toulousian accent. Fortunately they served lots of wine and good food and it was a great experience.

So, that's enough for now. I think I will post some pictures of some of the things we did there in the next couple of weeks.

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