The following topics are included in these pages:
Ever since I was a very young child and my older sisters and brothers used Pig Latin to keep secrets from me, I knew that a knowledge of other languages was the key to understanding magic. So starting from when I was in first or second grade and my sister gave me my first lessons in French--she taught me to count from "un" to "dix"--I have been enchanted with the language and all that it symbolized for me. By the time I was eligible to sign up for French I, I was ready to take in every bit of the magic I could. Mme Thompson (then Mme Dean), my high school "professeur," may never know how her stories and her teaching influenced me. She even sacrificed her planning period to teach French III my senior year--essentially, a handful of students were giving her even more work to keep up with. Not only did she teach us the language, but she introduced us to the geography, the culture, the art, the music, the literature...and did it all with a deep conviction that she was doing something very important--as indeed she was!
When I went to college, I first completed my required foreign language units in French; I then selected my electives in French...finally, when I had no electives remaining, I changed my major to French rather than give it up. In her teaching, Mme Thompson had conveyed not only the subject matter, but also her love for it. And that is why I dedicate this effort to her, wherever she may be. Merci beaucoup, Mme Thompson!!
Although I am no longer a French teacher in a public school, my love for the language, history and culture of France has not diminished in the least.
France, especially its Mediterranean coast, has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world... certainly one of the best places for vacationing. I was fortunate enough to make my first trip (but not my last!) to France for two weeks in the summer of 1996. The only part of Paris that I saw on that trip was the inside of l'aéroport at Orly (and, from the plane, the Eiffel Tower through the smog). I stayed in Montpellier, in the South of France, in the home of a delightful family whose daughter, Valérie, became one of our French 'daughters' through the Nacel cultural exchange program during July of 1994 and 1995. Amandine, from Paris, was our guest in July of '97. Céline, our first and only academic-year exchange student (for the '97-'98 school year), came back from her home in Lyon to visit for three weeks in the summer of '99.
In the summer of 2000, I spent three wonderful weeks in a wrinkle in the outskirts of Paris, and finally saw La Ville Lumière. While there, I fell in love with not just the distant dream of Paris, but the reality. What a beautiful, vibrant place! Sab, the friend whose website, The Language Fun Farm (complete with mailing lists for teachers and lovers of English), brought my husband (love-of-my-life!) and me together, was our tour guide in Paris. (I recommend him highly!) While in the city, we spent most of our time walking, taking pictures and enjoying each other's company. We particularly liked the cafés of the rue de la Huchette, where we ordered surprisingly good food from their 50-franc menus.
And yes, I'm going back. There is still so much to see!
Update 2005: I did indeed come back... for visits at Christmas 2001 and in summer of 2002... and then in July of 2003, I joined my husband pour de bon in our favorite wrinkle in the outskirts of Paris. After a year of settling in and taking care of administrative tasks such as getting a carte de séjour, a carte vitale, and exchanging my state driver's license for a French permis de conduire, I found a job teaching English (yes, again, but this time to adults!) in a well-known language school. I've been with the company for a year now, and I love my work. I'm adapting more and more to la vie française, as well as improving my French. I visit Paris on occasion, but not nearly often enough, especially considering that with public transportation it's possible to be there less than an hour after leaving our apartment. I need to work on that. Thomas Appleton said, "Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris." I've been lucky enough to get there a little sooner! I highly recommend taking an airplane rather than Appleton's route. Much faster, and, I believe, more enjoyable.
back to the top