My morning class “Intensive French-Level A2” is progressing but I think I am the only one in class who does not speak at least 2 languages fluently. I sit by Ursula, from northern Switzerland. There are three Brazilian girls (20 somethings): Paula, Christina and Marina. Thomas is from England/Australia and has the most exquisite English accent. Sabrina and Fabio are from Italy. Oslin, from Turkey, is really sweet and I can say “hello” to her in Turkish (that and ‘do you have kebabs’ is all the Turkish I still know). Cesar (Columbia) is about an hour late everyday. Ayana is from Israel. Nihab joined us this week and she is from Saudia Arabia. There are two Japanese girls in their early 20’s, Peng and Yuko. Yuko speaks English with no accent at all. She said her cousins are jealous of her because she can say ‘butterfly’. She says, “they say ‘bowe-fwy'”. I thought that was so funny!
My afternoon class is called Oral (insert pun here). It’s 8 sets of people reading dialogue to each other with the teacher coming by to try to listen. It’s louder than a biker rally. There are several Americans and Canadians in this class so they don’t mind my John Wayne inspired French accent. Last Friday, after class one of the Canadian girls huddled with several of us and said there was a famous American actress that was now attending our school. She wanted to know if I knew who Hilary Swank is! We were all excited thinking Miss Swank would be in one of our classes come Monday. But Joan burst my bubble later by reminding me that Alliance Francaise, our school, offers private tutoring. Ah, well. Maybe we’ll see her in the cafeteria. Right!
Joan works on homework for hours every day. She stresses herself out and I keep reminding her that this is not a pass/fail class. She does very well on her written assignments but admits that she doesn’t speak much in class. She vowed yesterday to begin to participate in class conversations. So where did I find her today? Looking at her iTouch at the lunch table while her classmates surrounding her were all yapping away in French. I walked up to her and said, “I see you are working on speaking French”, which scared her out of her trance but did nothing to jump start her French.