dimanche, avril 29, 2007

Leisurely

I spent the afternoon in a wonderful way - one that I wished would never end. I know the newness of summer can wear off quickly, but when it hits, you can feel it start by nibbling on your toes and exiting out the top of your head.

The late afternoon was spent at an outside bar table on east North avenue, with a glass of chardonnay and conversation en francais. With some "franglais" thrown in for good measure. The brain and ones' own perception are amazing little things, in that they are very misleading. The brain adapts so quickly to new circumstances that it can, no pun intended, make your head spin.

I started out a little choppy, but towards the end of the afternoon, I could pretty much say anything that came to mind. Wine helps, but so does experience. Nothing can be learned at a strictly academic level - it's always critical to put what you "know" into practice. Because then, you're getting a reality check on what you think you know. Or the reverse can happen. For example, I consider myself to be a student of French. I don't consider myself to be fluent by any means. But to this person, who is French, I speak French.

That's the perception part. The adaptability part is also amazing and it's motivating. After spending a couple of hours dans la langue, I was thinking in French. This happens, it's not a surprise, but it's pretty cool when you realize that you've shifted gears. That's the critical part. You have to go into that mode, into those shoes, in order to be what you are learning.

For all I know I still become intimidated, but I can understand the majority of what I hear. I credit the music I listen to and the movies I've watched for that - but with anything you learn - putting it into practice is key. More importantly, you have to get over yourself in order to learn sometimes.

Besides, I never knew I was using the most wrong word in the universe when I was saying "napkin". Mon Dieu!

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