Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tout seul

my bed/just me/all alone

This is how my bed looks when I get out of it. I don't move around much when I sleep. I took this photo while Doug was biking to Goshen and it was just me, in my old bed, all alone.

It was quite an adjustment to learn to sleep with someone else after years of sleeping alone. One of the most annoying things to adjust to after I moved in with Doug was how the bed is a wreck every single morning. When it was just me, I would get out of bed, pull up the sheets, smooth the covers and I was done. It is a major under-taking to make a bed that Doug gets out of. After nearly three years, I've adjusted.

I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love. When Liz writes of the joy she experiences while learning to speak in Italian, it reminds me of my love of learning to speak French. I don't speak French too often these days. I first started to study french in the ninth grade and was fortunate to have a teacher who insisted "en Francais, sil vous plait!" Which basically meant, in her classroom, that you didn't speak in English, but always, always in French. My verbal skills were always stronger than my written skills. If I had the masculine or feminine agreement correct, it was more happenstance or luck rather than knowledge. I always thought I should go back and start over, from the very beginning and get it right But I probably won't ever do that.

Due to my strong verbal skills, when entering college, I went to a language lab where they sat me down in a booth with headphones and I had to test as to what I listened to. I did quite well. That didn't necessarily mean that I should have tested into the upper level college French class that I did. My professor was Dr. Gilman. An eccentric man who summered in Europe, I think he owned only one suit which he wore day after day. He may have owned two suits, but no more. If memory serves me correctly, he was left-handed. Left or right, he flew across the chalkboard with lightening speed. I clung to my desk in fear.

Language is fascinating. For me, learning a second language was making connections. I still believe it is like solving a puzzle, making connections. Learning is using the synapses in your brain and firing, similar to using a spark plug to run the engine of your car. Learning French, for me, was fun. I took to it like Lucy gobbling chocolates off of the conveyor belt. I knew how to say this word or phrase in English, so how do I express the same in French?

Then, it seemed, that everyone in my life studied Spanish. So what did I do? I started making the same connections between Spanish and French that I had made between English and French. Because French, Spanish and Italian are Romance Languages, there are similar words. In Spanish, the word only is "solamente." In French, "seulement." In my mind...both relate to being alone and in french, alone in soul. I adore being alone. Not constantly, but I do enjoy the company of self.

One of my favorite French words is"corbeille." Lovely, isn't it? What do you think it means? It means wastebasket. In French, even the word for a trashcan sounds romantic.

For years, one of my amusements and delights stemmed from other people's misunderstanding of a phrase I often said in French. To say "that's all," is "c'est tout." People wouldn't even respond with "what?" They would simply answer, "toot," thinking for some reason that I had said "say toot."

Learning to speak French was a joy. Something you have to do "tout seul." What have you learned to do that gives you joy? Au revoir mes amis.

8 comments:

Cheryl said...

I've learned to understand and speak NASCAR which is no small feat for a lover of the English language.

Je n'ai jamais appris le français, même si mon père ne parlait que parlait le français avec ses parents et ma mère a appris le français à l'école.

Pam said...

Love the language thing! I know Spanish enough to get by on it and was amazed when studying at the similarities of the languages you mentioned. I'm just like you ~ sleep and move very little all night. It's so easy to make my side of the bed! ;)

Chatty Crone said...

I have to admit I don't have the ability of learning other languages easily like you - I'm kind of jealous and sad. Would love to know another language.

sandie

^..^Corgidogmama said...

My daughter took German in high school and college. She would say things to me that sounded so mean...but in actuality...she called me a ball point pen, a poop head, and said that she loved me!
Who knew?
I would love to know and be able to speak a few words of Italian, and French. Words with impact.
I cannot trill my r's, and so that limits me, he hee.
About the bed...I never sleep as well when Jim is home. He's noisy. He sleeps like you do...never moves. I'm like Doug, and my side looks as if the Tasmanian Devil slept there!

Jayme, The Coop Keeper said...

Words REALLY fascinate me. I love learning the origin of words. Your bed cracked me up. I sleep with my husband in an old antique full sized bed. We snuggle alot. I tear all the covers off the bed in the AM and make it from scratch. It's always a mess!

Angela said...

We have a king size bed. My husband is a strange man with the way he sleeps. His feet can't be under the covers! lol So our bed is always a complete mess every morning. The sheets and everything is always shifted to one side which usually is mine. If he gets too hot he just tosses his blankets on top of me! Then I will wake up sweating to death! He has been out of town a lot this month for travel and my bed looked just like yours when he was away! So it's not me either! lol

In the 6th grade they made us take French for 1 9 weeks. I didn't like it. The teacher had her favorites in the class and I wasn't one of them. She would let the kids laugh at us when we tried to speak it so I just didn't take it later on. My husband worked for a man from Germany. The German language sounds like they are cussing and yelling all the time! I really wanted to learn some German back then so I would know what they were saying.

In the Light of the Moon said...

I have learned to finally be happy spending time with myself.I like me now,at last,a new dawn.Warmest Regards,Cat

Lisa said...

Aaaand the similarities go on and on.

I too fell in love with French in high school and I too probably tested higher than I should have in college.

Sadly, I have let all but a little knowledge of that lovely language slip away. I try to speak it (and some Spanish which I picked up from friends who were also studying that language!) to the kids - just numbers & greetings and such.

Je l'adore, though, and I know the spirit of the language will stick with me.

FYI - hubby & I have a king size bed. We will never go back. The only thing I don't like about it? It's harder to thwap him when he snores.

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