In the car on the way from Florence to Nice I was quite worried about whether I would be able to start speaking French again. I tried talking to myself in French, but it was just coming out Italian. When I had first arrived in Italy and was trying to learn Italian, every time I opened my mouth French would come out and now I had the opposite problem. I was hoping that when we crossed that magic line on the highway that said “you are now entering France” that I would automatically start to speak French, unfortunately there was no magic and it just didn’t happen.
When we got to our apartment in Nice we discovered that we had no hot water. I knew that there had been a problem in our absence with water leaking into the neighbour’s apartment below, but had been told that the leak was found not to be in our apartment and that all was fine. However when Jeff went to turn on the hot water, we discovered that the plumber who had turned it off had broken the handle in the process, making it impossible for us to turn it back on. So immediately I had to go speak with my neighbour to try to understand the situation. The communication was very difficult, with me speaking about half French and half Italian. Fortunately my neighbour is a very nice lady and a good friend so she was very patient with me. The next day I had to communicate with the plumber and my French improved a bit more. Only once, when I was trying to get out a word and was trapped between French and Italian, did he tell me to calm down and take it slowly – it is funny how that helps. The following day, my second full day in France, was much better. I was speaking French almost as well as before, with just an Italian word thrown in here and there. (It adds a bit of international flair, don’t you think?)
So my French did come back without much problem which was a relief. Now I just have to maintain my French and continue building on the Italian basics that I learned in Italy, while taking courses and writing in English – “easy peasy”.
We were in Nice for only a few days and now we are back in London. I plan to take the next few months to do some courses here and to work on some of my writing. Since I can’t bear the cold, I figure that winter is the perfect time to stay indoors with a cup of tea (or hot chocolate) and write.
Wishing all of you a very happy holiday season.
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