It’s a go! The wheels of bureaucracy don’t turn quickly, but they turn nonetheless. We’re officially approved for an immersion trip the first two weeks of November!
Lest you think this will be a vacation… rest assured that we’ll actually be in class as many hours as we would be in DC. In fact, since the French don’t celebrate Veterans Day, we’ll even be in class on a day when our FSI classmates won’t. So there.
Then again, in the interest of full disclosure, I should probably also tell you that the French just so happen to be celebrating two other holidays while we’re in town (Armistice Day and All Saints Day), so… we’ll have those days off instead. One holiday for two isn’t such a bad trade, eh? But, don’t worry, we’re making up the missed hours by adding more class time to our other days.
As fun as we hope this trip will be, our main purpose really is to improve our French. We’re both doing a decent enough job of picking up vocabulary and grammar, but we could definitely stand to be forced to use what we know more, cementing it in our brains and allowing us to speak more fluidly. (I mean, we’re not the most talkative people in English, so you can imagine what it’s like in French.)
As you may recall, for a while we were really good about using French with one another around the house. Lately… not so much. But we’ve vowed to speak only French in France. And to really take advantage of the many opportunities there will inevitably be to practice outside of class.
After all, I have my scary end-of-training exam coming up in mid-December. You know, the one I need to pass in order to go to Benin. And the one that — lately — a frighteningly high percentage of test-takers have failed. And Andy wants to get to the 3/3 level too so he can pass a phone test and get some bonus points to bump up his spot on the Register, once his security clearance comes through.
So, this is serious business. Really. I promise.
Lounging around at cafes is educational, truly.
And so is navigating our way to Marseilles.
And trying our best not to go broke in Monaco.
Andy’s sitting beside me right now. “It’s going to be awesome,” he says.
“Yeah right guys. It’s going to be horrible,” counters Abbey.
Abbey, you see, will be going on an immersion trip of her own: she’s off to the Midwest to hang out with Andy’s family for a whole month, until we’ll be back there over Thanksgiving and can get her. Truth be told, she’ll probably love it. Last time she was there she was particularly impressed by a local foodstuff called “Snausage.” That stay, however, lasted only four days. Even Abbey can fake good behavior for that long. But a month? That’s a whole other story. We’ll see how many Snausages she earns this time…