Please forgive me if I can’t even string three French words together properly. French is one of those language I long to be able to speak. It drips with elegance and charm in a way that few other language could ever hope to do. As much as I love Spanish and Italian, which have their own incredible beauty, French has always captured my attention.
Me all have daydreams - I imagine myself sitting in some lovely little café, sipping coffee from a delicate little cup, in some incredibly chic French outfit, just out this season of course. Eating a croissant, and laughing with an adorable French man who finds me equally adorable. And then the part in the daydream when I have to say something…I imagine myself speaking French but then what comes out of my mouth is some alien language not comprehensible by any other living being. The French boy runs away, and I am left with my coffee….sad, sad story.
I went to France for a month right before starting at business school and I fell in love with it. The Sunflowers, the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the people, the FOOD, the wine. I spent a week in Paris, two weeks volunteering with a nonprofit that rebuilds ancient architecture in Saint Victor La Coste (near Avignon), and then a week along the French Riviera. So incredible – every day was out of fairy tale book. Paris is the only other city I have ever been that made me feel the way New York make me feel – alive, free, and bubbling over with joy. Whenever I went to a restaurant or a museum or the post office, etc. I always made an effort to ask for what I wanted in French. The people I was speaking to would look at me with sad eyes and respond to me in English. I would respond in French (if I could) and they’d look at me with even sadder eyes and again respond to me in English. I love France so much that I think I am entitled to be able to learn French without any difficulties.
My friend Heather recently came to New York for a visit and stayed in my apartment. Heather went to Darden with me, and her husband Didier, is originally from France. Their children are completely bi-lingual and I marvel at their conversations. When Heather came into my very small apartment, I immediately said, “oh don’t look at the kitchen – it’s so tiny. (It literally is the size of a closet.) She immediately said, “Are you kidding me? This apartment is great – bigger than places in Paris. All apartments in France are small.”
My heart leapt with joy! Now I can imagine myself coming home to mien petite appartement, knowing that million of people in Paris are doing the exact same thing in an even smaller place than mine. If I can’t share the language with them, at the very least I can appreciate the beauty of living small.