A year ago today, Cal and I took off for Paris. Child #4 was doing his fall semester in France–in Tours, the same place I had lived–and we were going to visit. If it were a year ago, he would still have a month to go.
My love of France and all things French began in kindergarten when the mother of a classmate did a puppet show in French. In third grade, I got to take French in the French Room. When I was ten, my grandmother took me to France.
In seventh grade, I began to study French in earnest. The summers after seventh, eighth, ninth grades, I went to a French camp in Vermont. The summer after my first year of college, I studied French in Quebec City. The next summer I spent three months in France–traveling and studying at the Sorbonne. I majored in French and Linguistics. My first publication was in French in The French Review.
After I graduated from college, I lived in Tours for the 1979-80 academic year, teaching English to French high school students. I went back in 1984, 1988, 1991, and 2005. All the kids have been at least twice.
I’ve taught French and run a French camp and subscribed to French magazines (the idea for the How We Spend Our Days series came from Elle). I still have French francs, listen to French music, occasionally read French books or watch French DVDs. I used to be fluent–no longer.
French was my passion before writing, and bits and pieces of my French connection sneak into my posts from time to time. I’m sad about what prompted me to think of it. I guess it’s because it’s such a part of me that it took until #308 to state this truth.