Testimonial: Learning the language for a trip of love
Hello folks, bonjour à tous !
Today I would like to share with you the experience of Cindy Ladage, long-time self-confessed France enthusiast and her journey to and through France. To learn more about Cindy, or on how you too can share your testimonials, meet me at the bottom of this wornderful article:
Learning the Language for a trip of love - by Cindy Ladage
My maiden name is Disque. I have been enamored with all things French since I was a child and learned my father’s people came from France. My friend Linda said she and I are both Francophiles, so it made sense that I told my husband Keith that my dream was to go to Paris. When I turned 50, he said he’d take me to the most romantic city in the world.
To prepare, I decided I would try to brush up on my French after seeing in a local paper, The Illinois Times that Roosevelt, not sure of the last name anymore, the owner of the African Shop in downtown Springfield taught French lessons. Besides French lessons ironically enough, he also taught African Drumming for children. I don’t know how many adults took French with him, but I signed up for a once a week class, every Wednesday for a couple of months.
Roosevelt was originally from Liberia and was a very refined gentleman. We were soon learning and I quickly saw that my years of high school French helped, but were inadequate. I was just going to try. Linda who is a flight attendant and flies to France on a regular basis assured me that the French would appreciate my efforts. After hearing myself stumble through the words, I wasn’t so sure. However, I forged ahead and had words all over the house to reacquaint myself with their meanings.
Besides Roosevelt, there was another Liberian named Sylvester who also taught me at times, but I had a very hard time understanding him, so those sessions were not nearly as helpful as with Roosevelt.
By the time we headed to Paris, I felt somewhat prepared that I could at least ask questions and maybe understand some of the basics. I also taught my husband a few phrases most women think important. One was”Je suis desole, (I am sorry)” and “le billet s'il vous plaît" (the ticket please) .
Paris was as beautiful and sophisticated as I had imagined. We immersed ourselves in the restaurants, the museums, took tours and even enjoyed a local neighborhood tour which was one of my favorite things that we did. The city’s architecture, the spires, the statues and the fashionable French amazed Keith and I who live on a farm and live a casual lifestyle.
We fell deeper in love and I was so excited to be in the city I had always dreamed of that my esteem for my husband rose each day. As for the language, the French listened for a moment or two and a few even conversed (at least I thought they did) with me although most quickly turned to English seeing my master of the language was - un peu – just a little. Most of them -parle Anglais- rather than immerse in my hillbilly Francais!
I think though that they appreciated my effort to try to immerse myself in their culture rather than expect them to meet mine.
I would go back in a second and would try to brush up again before heading out. Hearing that lyrical language as the Mother tongue was lovely, and so was Paris. It was a wonderful 50th birthday present. Although I have been overseas a couple of times since then, no other trip has been quite as magical.
More about Cindy:
Cindy Ladage is an award-winning columnist for Farm World. She recently won the American Women in Communications Clarion award for her column Wrenching Tales. Cindy is a frequent contributor to the Illinois Times travel guides, a freelance writer she specializes in stories about people and places. Her travel blog is http://travelingadventuresofafarmgirl.com. Cindy writes for antique tractor and toy magazines along with other publications like Senior News & Times. She has co-written three children’s books with Jane Aumann her first solo children’s book When Matilda Made Time Stand Still.
Cindy has three fiction books that have been published as well as a series of short stories. Cindy was a contributor to Canning, Pickling and Freezing with Irma Harding. She lives with her husband who is a farmer in central Illinois. They have three grown children and two grandchildren. You can also find Cindy on Twitter at CindyLadage@cindyladage or on Instagram at cindyladage.