Parlez-vous français? The importance of learning a foreign language.

“If you ask the great city, ‘Who is this person?,’ she will answer, ‘He is my child.”

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Comment allez vous mes lecteurs?

parlez vous Francais?

Whatever you do, don’t take the decision to learn a new language lightly. To slightly mis-quote from one of my favourite novels set in France, the journey of learning a language is “the best of times, it (is) the worst of times, it (is) the age of wisdom, it (is) the age of foolishness…”.

I was always considered the ‘language person’ in our family. I speak two languages fluently, though one more fluently than the other, and two rather poorly. To have an initial talent in something is not a recipe for success as I learnt rather quickly when I began a night class in French some years ago as an adult. Continue reading Parlez-vous français? The importance of learning a foreign language.

Kisses: a cautionary tale

“It had taken me some months to get used to the Provencal delight in physical contact. Like anyone brought up in England, I had absorbed certain social mannerisms. I had learned to keep my distance, to offer a nod instead of a handshake, to ration kissing to female relatives and to confine any public demonstrations of affection to dogs. To be engulfed by a Provençal welcome, as thorough and searching as being frisked by airport security guards, was, at first, a startling experience.”

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

kissing protocolYesterday I had a bit of a kissing dilemma. In fact, it may have actually been a faux pas. I had lunch with my mum-in-law and a perfect stranger. The stranger knew about me and I about her, but we had never actually met. The stranger also came with a host of cautionary bumph. Nervousness ensued, but it was a meeting well overdue, necessary and unavoidable. Continue reading Kisses: a cautionary tale