Thursday, September 16, 2021

Learning to live with a second language


When I lived in Montreal many years ago, it was so easy to switch from one language to another, and people understood you. Sometimes, we could find the word easier in the other language, and often we did! You never thought anything about it. I even remember having conversations with people who wanted to improve their English and me wanting to improve my French that they spoke in English and I spoke in French! I'm sure people would have thought we were crazy! But it was almost the norm! 

Well, yesterday, I hope I wowed the group when I showed them the apps on my phone -- all in French, the software was in French, and my sewing machine is in French! My vocabulary is increasing - not fast enough, but hey -- we can't learn a new language in a day. 

French language phone!

But I had an interesting conversation with the ladies, and there are a couple of quilters in the group. Almost NOTHING is in French for them. Yes --there are some patterns, but most are only in English. Yet, they need to learn the quilting (coutrepointe) terms in French, which is taught locally in the stores. 

That's as bad as buying fabric in meters and cutting it up in inches. I would say we Canadians are a very hearty lot -- we know both measurement systems to some degree, and we have two official languages! Gosh -- I love this country!

But man, oh man -- there are some tongue twisters. Try saying "les plaques d'mmatriculation." Yes -- I'm doing fine, but I have to practice some of those words to not fall over them. I remember learning French -- well, building on the high-school French that I had when I moved to Montreal. I would be in the car practicing rolling my R's since that's part of the language. I was thrilled when I could make that happen. Now, I practice words when I'm walking the dogs. 

Speaking of the girls, when I came back from walking Lexi, Miss Murphy was nowhere to be found. So seeing her dish full of food and her not sitting there waiting patiently? That's a rare sight at our house. 

Where is Murphy? 

And where was she? Oh, scouting out stuff in the backyard. Eventually, she heard that we were back and she came in and immediately plunked herself in front of her food, waiting for the command to eat. She is such a good dog that way!

Scouting squirrels in the backyard

Those lilies in the pond have done amazingly well this summer. One last bloom!

One last bloom in the pond

I had the BEST dentist appointment ever yesterday. No - they didn't tell me what a good flosser or brusher I was. Nor did they say - Oh, you have no cavities. Nope -- I had to have a filling replaced. The dentist is along my afternoon walk, so I left in time to get to the appointment. Ah -- the filling is on a root canal, so no freezing. I was in and out in FIFTEEN minutes. Felt nothing, and it was like it never happened. Now, if all dentist appointments could be like that! I was back home in plenty of time to prep for the French presentation. 

I swear, not having to get in the car to do errands is HUGE for me. I would NEVER have thought of walking to the dentist before, but now? I couldn't bring myself to get in the car to that distance. But I do drive the car to the gym. That's about 1.5 KM further than the dentist, but that's a bit much even for me! 

I have three presentations today -- two I'm giving and one I'm sitting in on. Here's a piece of advice if you're on a Zoom call. If the presenter opens up the call and allows some chat time -- use it. It's a struggle for us to sit there and stare at each other, and no one says a word. I find that 30 minutes before the call is a way to engage with the audience - just like in real life. And let's face it -- if you were in person with that presenter, you'd be asking questions or chatting!!!  

Trust me - the calls where we have chit-chat before the event starts are way more SUCCESSFUL than those where we don't! Just saying..................

My package is still NOT released. I've e-mailed to try to escalate, and they won't budge. I'll be calling yet again. This is getting totally ridiculous!

So it's going to be a busy day. I'm writing, cutting, taking pictures, and prepping for the other presentations that are coming up later this week. This week is probably the worst week for the next couple of weeks. Just lots to do - starting new projects and, of course, all the translation/learning of French terms. It'll be a bit calmer in October, but not much! But here's the thing. I'm not panicked - the work will get done. Nothing I can do about the timing. It's just part of life. 

I did manage to get a quilt loaded on the long arm as well, as I finally found my headphones to continue listening to the audiobook called Breath by James Nestor. Holy  --- it's totally insane what he is saying and why we snore, have trouble with asthma, and other breathing disorders. Did you know that the optimal number of breaths in a minute is 5.5? That sounds insane, but I timed myself yesterday, and I'm about in that range. But on the bike? I'm out of control and yesterday was no exception. I was so focused on getting to the end of the hour that I didn't even think about mouth breathing or nose breathing. I just wanted to survive the class!!!

I'm still not able to make the complete night sleeping with taped lips. I can do a couple of hours, and then I take the tape off! No idea why! I don't need to breathe through my mouth. 

On that note, I'm out of here. 

Have a super day!!!


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