June 25, 2007

6/25/07 St Lys France

Bonjour. Yes, even though I was just beginning to get a handle on my Spanish while in Spain, I have started to learn French. We'll see if the two languages help or hurt each other inside my brain. [laugh]

I'm trying to use several sources to learn. My book is "Teach Yourself French" and has audio to go with the lessons, along with my Pimsleur French CDs. But just to add a little variety and different perspectives, I'm also listening to two podcasts: FrenchPodClass.com and LearnFrenchbyPodcast.com

I'll try and give you an update on my language progress while I'm here in French.

This last week I enjoyed spending with my cousin Cynthia and her husband Jean-Yves. One night they had all the neighbors over for drinks and conversation that lasted until midnight. And a few nights ago we went into Toulouse to eat at a wonderful Lebanese restaurant. I'm beginning to get an appreciation for the social customs here in France. As someone new to France, I'm excused from not knowing all the nuances of accepted behavior. But Cynthia has lived here almost seven years and she says she still has trouble with all the layers of 'civilized' behavior. Seems it is something that you can only really know when you have been taught it since before you could walk and talk.

The church in St Lys

One reason I decided to spend more time learning yet another language is that I might be staying here in France for a while longer. I have put in a request to volunteer at Nalanda Monastery, a Buddhist monastery near Toulouse. As far as I can tell, it's the only monastery of it's kind in Europe. I have offered to help for several weeks working on the new monastery building they are constructing next door to the old one. But if it goes well both for me and them, I might stay longer. We'll see.