Good news for you Foreign Service folks bound for Francophone countries: Perhaps FSI’s French Department is finally relaxing its standards, because today they deemed me proficient in the French language! Me, who admittedly was making good progress at first, but then who, well, in all honesty, pretty much took a break for a few months to focus on feeling miserable and making my husband feel miserable about the misery he caused. Oh, the joys of the first trimester.
What makes this even more surprising is that I performed horrendously during my exam today. I totally forgot all the complicated tricks I had up my sleeve to try to seem more advanced than I really am. Worse yet, I made dumb mistakes I never make in class. I don’t know why this happened. Nerves, perhaps? It certainly didn’t help that my examiner just so happened to be the one person in the whole French Department who intimidates me, with her perfect accent and seeming disdain for every word that comes out of my mouth. (She subbed for my class a few months ago for one very, very long day.) Although, to be fair, she was perfectly nice during my test this morning, even during my exit interview while stressing several times that despite passing, I still really, really need to work on my accent.
In any case, I got my 3/3. This is good news because:
- I’m ready to say au revoir to French at FSI. It’s tiring. I need a break.
- I’m really proud of myself for passing. Even without the pregnancy, it was unlikely. With the pregnancy, I really thought it was impossible.
- I get the rest of the week off. Helllllo, Christmas shopping!
- Passing and moving on to other training will result in a longer Christmas break than if I’d remained in French. Sweet!
However, this isn’t all good, because:
- Since I can’t go to post until after giving birth, I’ll have to do something work-related in DC until May. Frankly, as much as I’m ready for a break from French, more class would have been a lot easier than what I’ll likely end up doing when my other training ends in February: a bridge assignment at Main State.
- French class has no dress code. Main State does. Have you seen maternity business suits? Yeah, me too. They’re horrible. And expensive.
In the long run, I’ll probably kick myself for getting my 3/3 on the first go — not just to avoid a potentially exhausting bridge assignment during my third trimester, but also because my French still definitely needs work. The idea of having intelligent conversions in French as a representative of the American government, well, that terrifies me. Trust me, no matter what FSI says, I’m not ready. For that reason, more training wouldn’t have been so bad.
But oh well. For now, at least, passing feels pretty good. As does all the lounging around I have planned for the rest of the week!