Learn French, they said. It will be fun, they said.

I may have mentioned that, along with my scholarly studies, reality TV binge-watching, and procrastination disguised as mindful meditation, I have diligently and competitively taken up French.

The language, not the lifestyle, sadly.

The French language is so beautiful, but it is difficult. So far, I have learned over 1500 words, and yet when I try to put together a simple sentence to show off to friends, I can only think of one word: Mange. Mange means to eat. Eating is a favorite activity of mine, and of course, it makes perfect sense that I would remember it in French. I also know french fries, french toast, and French-pressed coffee. Oh yeah, and croissant. That one really is French. Delectably French. I could totally mange on a yummy croissant right now, in fact!

Mais je digress…

So, you are probably wondering (if you are still awake) why I would tackle this new and (I will say it again, in case you missed it) DIFFICULT language. I am still pondering that myself. Most of the time, I make a Pros and Cons list before beginning a journey that might take me through the gates of hell. This time, however, I covered both eyes and jumped into the deep end of the Duolingo language app. You can do that because the cool little app will even read to you.

Gawd, I love technology.

My learning process includes speaking, reading, spelling, making sentences that look way longer than the English equivalents, and cursing. I can’t curse in French yet, but that day is coming. Meanwhile, my tried, true, and practiced expletives fly every time I try to figure out which verb goes where. I am consistently inconsistent and frequently choose a different verb tense for the same damned sentence because my French retention sucks.

And furthermore….

The art of speaking French eludes me. I can read a lot of it now, but when I try to speak, I sound like a donkey with a sore throat or a very confused parrot. The verb tenses torture my delicate sensibilities; I kid you not! Each verb tense sounds exactly the same. For example, let’s go back to my favorite French word, mange. See below. Caution! It’s deceptive!

I (Je) mange

You (tu) manges

They (Ils) mangent

We (nous) mangeons

You notice how each tense has a different ending, right? WELLLLL, it is all a ruse, people. When I listen to the little cartoon dude in Duolingo, he says mange for every single tense of the verb! It is driving me bananas! And to bruise my ego even further, Duolingo wants me to type back what the little dude says. I get it correct about 25% of the time. I came up with that number because there are four choices and that’s as close as I want to get to math.

Is it time to throw my hands up in the air and say Fuck IT, Duolingo? Should I just go to Spain instead of Paris when I go to Europe? Yeah, that’s what I should do. I can speak a little Spanish, and when verbs are pronounced, you can actually hear the difference…..well, if you slow the sound down and maybe play it over and over. But I am nothing if not a patient pontificator!

Whew, that felt good. But I love French! I cannot quit. I think I love the little Duolingo dude, too. Love is love, people.

Viva le France!

Thank you for visiting my little creative space. I get a little crazy sometimes, but it’s all in fun. I love it when you visit. Please come back if you enjoyed my ramblings. Have a wonderful week, be kind, and find your joy!

Study Like a Boss

Have you (or do you) experienced bad study habits?

J’ai de mauvaises habitudes d’etude! That’s French, for I have bad study habits. The thing is, my mind wanders, and I can become distracted at the drop of a donut. I wonder if we have any donuts left? One minute I am typing away on my assignment for the week; the next minute, I am surfing the net for mosquito repellent. I’m not absent-minded! I just have an acute interest in all things. Yeah, that’s it.

I have lived with inadequate study habits my entire life. It’s a struggle, people. It is a good thing I am so damned smart. Some would argue against that declaration. because sometimes I put my keys in the fridge and my popsicles in the car. You probably think that is old age, but you would only be partially correct. Just ask my best friend Mary about the time I left my young son with her to babysit and promptly got into my car….on the passenger side. No one was with me. Mary stood at the door, laughing her ass off. She even had my son giggling.

Where was I going with that? I digress sounds a bit more scholarly. Ahem.

All of the above demonstrates a few reasons for my lack of exemplary study habits. Even writing this blog is a pleasant diversion from producing doctoral-level essays week after week after week. I do not hate my studies; in fact, quite the opposite. I love pursuing my doctorate. That said, sometimes I miss just being foolish, silly, and goofing off. That is why I began studying French two months ago via the fabulous app called Duolingo. Doing so is my way of disguising fun and goofing off for a learning opportunity.

I’m kinda sneaky that way.

I have been spotted at Starbucks with my laptop, iPhone, and reading glasses more than once, looking all studious and serious. It is all a ruse, my friends. If you look closely, you will see I often glance at all those around me while listening to their conversations intensely. The whole adventure is tres amusant! A girl needs a little social time; since I am not very social, Starbucks helps me out.

On a more sedate note, doctoral school does command dedication, time, and sound study habits, so I commit myself to those endeavors consistently. It’s definitely more effort than I have ever put into any other study challenge, including my Masters. If you are currently involved in a situation involving self-discipline and cognitive overload, try taking a bit of a respite and enjoy yourself, if only for a few moments. It truly helps me power on!

Thank you so much for visiting my little creative space. I love it when you visit! Please leave a comment if you are so inclined. I’m going to find that donut now. Passez une journee fabuleuse!