Monday, June 15, 2015

Oui, Je Suis Encore à Étudier le Français! (Yep, I'm still studying French!)

View from a lookout point on Skyline
Drive in Shenandoah National Park
This'll be quick, because all is well and it's time for me to shut off my electronics for the evening.

First, language studies: my French is improving! A few weeks ago I took another informal assessment and was given a tentative 2/2, which means that I'm well on my way to the 3/3 score that I am required to obtain for my post in Bamako. The assessors pointed out some critical areas I need to work on and stressed the importance of not letting myself ease off the studying. In addition, my class is now down to two students (one was a bit more advanced and was moved to a different class) and another instructor. This one is from France and is around the same age, I think, as me and the other student. We get along great! She's very positive and encouraging and has some really good techniques of making corrections and giving feedback.

First and a half, since it has to do with language: I'm pondering doing a two-week immersion, probably in Canada. Know any good programs? Let me know! I'm required to take intermediate-level, or professional, French for at least sixteen hours a week, and to stay with a French family, and to have a list of activities I will go out into the community and do. It will be completely out of pocket for me in terms of cost (yet another punch to the gut of local hires: I won't get per diem during those days, as will my counterparts who weren't DC locals when they joined the foreign service; thus, the Canada choice instead of the costlier flights elsewhere). In any case, I'm excited about the prospects and busy researching away.

Ready for the folk festival!
Second, and last: Life in general is good! I had a lovely visit with my mom two weekends ago, during which we went to a folk life festival, a Shakespeare theater show, and went through my personal papers to thin it out (hint: it ended with over ten pounds of shredding material). Last weekend I went camping and was able to reset myself after a bout of personal frustration with French. Next weekend dad is visiting, and we've got some great DC activities planned as well as Mali-planning to do. This weekend, I visited with tons of friends I haven't seen in awhile, which felt great. I'm swimming laps twice a week and am up to 1200 meters in 35 minutes (a huge improvement for me!). The weather is sticky hot, my CSA is delivering lovely fresh produce, and I'm continuing to enjoy the life of a diplomat-in-language-training.

À la prochaine (until next time)...


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