As mentioned in my previous post, my trips to Europe made me fell in love with the continent, especially France. And what’s a better way to immerse oneself in the culture better than to learn the language? So on that sunny day in July, I went to IFI in Thamrin to sign myself up.
I initially wanted to take the regular class so I only had to come for 1-2 times per week. But turned out the regular class had already started a couple of weeks before and the only class that I could enroll myself in was the intensive one. “Do you really want to sacrifice your beauty sleep every weekday morning?” I asked myself (I’m a night owl, you know).
But I didn’t really have anything going on in the morning and didn’t want to wait for a couple of months to attend the regular class. Also, taking the intensive class meant that I got to finish one level in two months, while regular class needed 6 to 9 months (depending on which level). So, why not?
And it was one of the best decisions ever!
The class commenced in the beginning of August last year. Knowing only basic French from Duolingo, I was surprised to find the intricacy of the language. Different groups for verb and each group has their own set of rules for conjugation? Are you kidding me?! I felt like I was running out of space in my brain to memorize all those rules, conjugations, tenses (Le Passe Composé vs L’Imparfait! Hmm…) and other stuffs. And ooh, not to forget the pronunciation? There are different words with obviously different spellings but similar pronunciations like “sourire” (smile) and “souris” (mouse). *pulling my hair
But thank God for Internet! I downloaded the app Vatefaireconjuguer to help me with the conjugations. To speed things up when I’m looking for a meaning for a word, I use the free dictionary by Farlex on my smartphone. And I also use the app iTranslate to help me with sentences. It must be really hard to learn the language before Internet and smartphones were available!
Although it gave me headache, learning French became really fun and not boring at all thanks to my classmates. We had good chemistry with one another and became good friends, more like a family – une famille française! I always looked forward to attend the class and spend time with them.
Besides that, everybody was smart and supportive to one another in learning this not-so-easy language. But doesn’t mean we didn’t like to have fun because we joked around almost all the time. I remember one time the teacher came in and was very surprised to find us playing Twister! Sometimes we also liked to go out together – for lunch, bowling, live music, and even out of town to enjoy the beach of Carita.
We also took DELF (sort of like French’s IELTS or TOEFL). Even though I initially had no plan on doing it, everybody was so serious preparing for it that it was somehow contagious. To make it even harder, most of us took DELF for level A2 while we’re still in that level. Yikes!
When the day of the test came, I was really nervous. Didn’t know why it became THAT serious for me because I actually took the course pour plaisir ;p But, phew! It went well. During the oral production test, the examiner asked me, “Combien de chiens avez-vous?” (How many dogs do you have?) after I told him that I share a house with cats and dogs. Yet I mistakenly heard “chats” so I answered, “J’ai trente-sept chats chez moi,” (I have 37 cats at home – it’s 38 now, by the way.). He then stared at me with disbelief. Haha!
After four months of being together, only a few of us continued studying in the intensive class. Some of my classmates had to depart for France for their study, some were busy with their own lives and I had to take regular class instead as I didn’t as much free time as I used to. But we still keep in touch regularly, exchanging news on our Whatsapp group.
The regular class for level B1 started early this year and I was delighted to find myself in the class with people with similar vibes as my former classmates – such a nice way to spend my Saturday mornings! But of course, the lesson’s not getting any easier. Right now we’re studying le subjonctif and I feel like my head’s gonna explode
So far the main challenge for me is to comprehend what the Frenchs are saying. They talk in this speed of light that it seems impossible for me to get it! I sometimes borrow DVD and CD from the library to (try to) get myself used to them speaking. My favorite French movie is The Intouchables, which I actually saw on the plane, starring the hunky Omar Sy. Do you have any French movie you recommend?
Okay, answering the question of Jean-Nengah: Parlez-vous français ?
Oui. Mais, soyez-patient, s’il vous plaît. Je parle très lentement ! 😀
(Special thanks to my good friend Vitri who snapped pictures of Jean-Nengah and me!)