Mostly failures, but the occasional great satisfaction

In learning a language, sometimes it’s the smallest triumphs that feel the biggest.

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Sometimes it’s the smallest triumphs that feel the biggest. One of the disorienting things about being in a foreign country is not understanding any of the little conversations going on around you. Yesterday, however, while hitting the ATM in my little Parisian neighborhood, I followed a conversation between two bums squatting next to me on the sidewalk. One of them was absolutely shit-faced drunk, and was obsessing out loud, endlessly and in French, about what day of the week New Year’s Day would fall on. Was it going to be this week, or next week? (As I said, this guy was really drunk.) Would it be Monday, or Tuesday? Finally he turned to me: what day of the week will New Year’s Day be: Monday, or Tuesday?  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it would be a Friday, so I bought him a baguette and went on my way. And so goes my battle to learn to speak French–little trials, little triumphs; mostly failures, but the occasional great satisfaction.

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