nb: these are all backdated
12 June 2008
It is my second night with my host family in Abou. They are very nice and very surprised that I already speak pretty good French. Ma maman is very patient and creative with my vegetarian demands, although my friend said she heard her maman and my maman worrying about feeding a vegetarian enough good food. “What do I feed someone who doesn’t eat meat?”
There are two young children – Belle and Fiere* are 4 and 6 years old respectively. They were both shy yesterday although Belle was comfortable enough to hold my hand and sit on my lap for the ride home with all the luggage. Fiere spent about half an hour reading to me from his French alphabet book – whole sentences. This is particularly impressive because children here do not learn any French until they go to school. For the most part, they speak Ewe (pronounced ey-vey) at home.
This morning at class I was told that I will be learning Ewe instead of French as my French level is sufficiently proficient that French classes would probably bore me. I am a little worried about this as the other two people chosen for Ewe are both essentially native speakers: one is from Lebanon, and the other has French grandparents who insisted that he speak French with them. I am far behind them in speaking naturally. I still have to think to form phrases and I still make bad choices in conjugation and vocabulary. It just means I’ll have to work on my own to further improve my French.
In the meantime – I get to start Ewe!!! Awesome! I’m really excited about this, although it’s pretty intimidating. I think we are going to learn primarily by oral repetition and that doesn’t work nearly as well for me as visual learning. I’ve never before done a language that is entirely outside of my language base knowledge – Spanish, French and German are all somewhat related to English, therefore I could use my English to better understand the learning process. I am afraid this is going to be so different that I will get really frustrated and impatient with myself.
* not their real names, of course – as I don’t use them on this journal, merci.