Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Language School

Today was my second day of language lessons. The five hours goes by quite quickly, is intensive and civilized. The lessons so far consist of Q and A, dictation, reading, verb conjugation, note-taking, culture and society. There are five other students in my class: Three people from Qatar; one from Iran and one from Spain. It's strange to be so aware of my nationality because being American, especially now, is not the most popular thing. Everyone is polite and nice, but I can't help thinking of what I represent to others as an American citizen. I'm also reminded of how difficult it must be for second-language learner students in school. To not have the words to speak or to have to look up words in order to make oneself understood is difficult for a motivated student; I imagine how pointless it must feel to an unmotivated one. I have pretty good comprehension but my speaking ability continues to be kind of lousy and so far the dictation is the hardest. We listen to tapes which we can rewind and replay as needed and have to transcribe what we hear. It's fun, kind of like a puzzle, and I find that I understand as a whole, but when I need to break it down word by word, it gets complicated. I am enjoying the school and I hope that it helps me improve. There is also 50 cent espresso in the break area, which is always a good thing.

Tonight we went to have aperos with some newer and veteran students at a get-together organized by the school. The kids played with their toy cars while we spoke with some German women and drank coffees. When Bea started eating the sugar packets we knew it was time to go. This was our first social engagement in Royan.

Meredith, Dave and Allyson are coming to visit in less than two weeks. Mere'll be happy to know that it has stayed steadily over 10º every day for the last week, so she won't be able to see her breath when she wakes up in the morning.

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