I had to leave the French class before the end of our semester. My 2nd son was expecting his first son, my 3rd grandson, around the first of December. We dedided to make it a Christmas vacation. We arrived in Texas the 12th of December and stayed until the 26th of Dec. My new grandson, Jackson, was born the 3rd of Decemeber, my mother’s birthday. I wasn’t there for the birth, but got to see his 2nd week on this earth.
Before I went, I had my last day of class. I hadn’t decided if I would come back or not. I loved everyone in the class but I wasn’t sure how much French I was learning. I think, looking back, that I was learning quite a bit, but I just wasn’t using it. Maurice and I weren’t using it at home.
On the last day for me of class we went to, what else, a lunch. Mary, Yoko, Victoria, and I went to a nearby restaurant. They kept asking me if I would be back. I really didn’t know. Maurice and I had plans to go skiing for the last time at a place we were going to sell and Maurice had always had a dream to build or buy a place in Provence, along with hundred of thousands of others. Some Hungarian women in the class, for some reason, started a rumor that we were going to make an around the world trip. This wasn’t true, though I wished it were. I enjoyed the Hungarian girls in our class. They all spoke quiet a bit of English and were lots of fun. Every time a new one joined the class I would say, “Oh, God, not another Hungarian. They are everywhere.” Of course, because we were in the Hungarian Institute, we got a lot of them. They were all very nice women and all of them were married to fellow Hungarians. They were all very proud of their country which would soon be joining the European Community and using the Euro. They were lots of fun. And all very tall.
Anyway, there we were at lunch. They all told me how much they would miss me and how much fun I had made the class.
Yoko said to me, “Are all Americans as much fun as you?” I didn’t know how to answer this, and I don’t know if she expected an answer but I was very touched that she felt that way. Victoria told me how much she would miss me. Mary brought me a gift, an address book with holidays listed. I had them list their names with their birthdays so I could remember them with a card. I had to borrow a pen from Mary and when I left she gave it to me to remember her by. As Victoria and I left after lunch both Mary and Yoko said as we went down the steps to the Metro, “We will miss you!” Yoko didn’t have anything to give me, so she gave me one of her cigarrettes.
I was feeling very sad. They were all such a great group of girls. They had added so much to my life in Paris. I didn’t know what I would do without them. Then Victoria and I were on the Metro and soon she was off at her stop. Without Victoria, the class would never be the same again.
I felt like I grew more emotionally and mentally in 5 months in Paris than I did in the 5 years following my divorce, and maybe even all of the years prior to then. There is a confidence when you reach my age and a certain strength in not caring what others think of you. It’s very freeing. How can life not improve when living in the most beautiful city in the world?
So, how is my French now? To be honest, it is really bad. I’ve never been forced to use it. I’ve had a very spotty education in the French language and in some areas I know alot and in others I somehow missed learning important things. I understand much of what is said now but my spoken French is bad. Whenever I am in Provence, I take private lessons once a week from a very good teacher. I think this has helped my French more than anything. I have taken other French classes but nothing ever compared to my first one.