• Chris Francisco

Francais, part deux

As you all know, learning French has been an important goal for the both of us. It becomes more apparent every day that French is the dominant language here in Montreal, and it's the starting place for most conversations until the other person figures out you don't know what they're talking about. It's hard not to feel like the ugly "americain" in these situations, even though nobody has actually acted in a way that made me feel like that. Regardless, we want to feel like we belong here, and being able to use French as much as possible is part of that.

I mentioned in a previous post that we'd taken a few months of private lessons in Atlanta before we moved. For many reasons, we just weren't able to keep up with the homework, and to be honest, I don't remember much of what we learned. I need to get back into lessons ASAP, so this week I've been researching options.

As you can imagine, there are a LOT of options for French lessons here. Unfortunately, due to my current immigration status, I don't qualify for the free lessons that the Quebec government offers. It could be awhile until I'm eligible, and I don't love the idea of waiting around for that to happen. so paid classes are my only option for now.

After some advice from another local language school I visited, I went to the Montreal YMCA to take their French placement test. In addition to offering a great place to get yourself clean and have a good meal (ha), they also offer a wide range of foreign language classes for all skill levels. They aren't cheap, but this sort of thing never is.

How much did I remember? Well, not much, as it turns out. Just look at all the blank answers. I wish you could have seen this paper once my consultant started correcting it. Lots of red marks. The consultant asked me a few verbal test questions in French (what's your name, where do you live, what is today's date, etc), and I'm sure the look on my face was classic as I fumbled through the answers. I had to ask him to slow down (plus lentement) a couple times. He said I'd definitely be placed in a beginner class (duh), which is a little disappointing considering our lessons before. But, we ARE beginners, and that's OK.

C'est terrible.

Due to the price, I may not do the YMCA option, but I found another school that looks promising. The reviews are great, and the class size is much smaller than others I've looked at. I like the idea of a more personal experience, and I don't really need a free gym membership with my lessons anyway. Well, if Marny keeps bringing home free viennoiseries from work, I might.

I couldn't do an afternoon downtown Montreal run without finding something good for lunch, so I checked out a Japanese hot dog place called Hotto Doggu. I'd read about it on the Eater Montreal "best hot dog" list (I'm a connoisseur), and since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped in for a quick bite. In addition to a wide range of Japanese-style hot dogs, they also had other faves like rice bowls (topped with unagi, salmon, or tuna), takoyaki, and corn dogs ("pogos" in Canada) topped with Japanese mako and teriyaki. Yum. I got the hot dog combo topped with fried onions, carrot, cucumber, Japanese mayo, teriyaki, and nori. There was similar goop on the fried potato, but it wasn't overpowering.

Chien-chaud a la japonais!

Hopefully I'll have decision made on the lessons soon. Until then, bonne chance to moi!

About me

After almost 20 years living in Atlanta, Georgia, my husband and I decided it was time to make a change. We packed up our lives, grabbed our beloved cat, and ventured North to re-make our lives in Montreal, Canada.  Did I mention we don't speak French yet?


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