Six Months Later
Have you missed me? Did you forget I existed? It’s been six-long months since my last blog. Six painfully slow months.
The French, the French, it nearly killed me. I gave up NPR for the French. I gave up holidays and snow days and weekends for months and months. I gave up writing. I gave up wine. I even attempted unsuccessfully to give up coffee (my French teacher thought I talked too fast and blamed caffeine).
I had to learn grammar. And it hurt.
The French themselves would strike in protest. Perhaps even kidnap their boss to negotiate better work conditions (bossnappings: real and kind of legal in France. I kid you not.).
And the end? Did it end? Not the rambling French dreams. Not the heart palpitations. Not yet.
I thought I might go out like a bad French movie with no conclusion, no answers. Just dark.
But it turns out my arcane knowledge of French workers’ rights and hours spent memorizing idiomatic expressions (none of which I ever used) carried the day. Somewhat. I finally passed my French oral exam on Monday (3rd time was the charm; 2nd time was tears, despair and anger), which means, according to the US government, I now officially speak French.
There’s a minor little reading exam I still have to pass but mostly I’m done. Almost done. Certainly I’m done with French classes. I am back at work and preparing for departure at the end of March.
But there was one very high note during the past six months. I finally have an agent: Bob Mecoy with Creative Book Service. He’s representing my second mystery set in Miami. It took ten years to get an agent. I am sure there was some pain involved, but thankfully my memories have since faded to rose. That was September.
And one particularly low note. In October, my cat decided to attack the neighbor’s cat. I intervened. In return, my little monster punctured my hand and shredded my leg. And since his teeth are sharp and dirty and hit a bone, it took four days in the hospital, two surgeries, and a PICC line shoved in my vein to deliver 21 days of twice-daily-intravenous antibiotics express to my heart. There was some pain.
December, January, and February: I studied and tested and studied and tested and studied and tested again. Eighty percent pain. And now I’m done.
Almost. And one day, many years from now, while rambling in grammatically deficient, poorly accented French over a bottle of wine in Southern France, or more likely Senegal, the painful memories will be gone, and only the pleasure of speaking a foreign language will remain.