Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to learn French. My cousin had a couple of phrase books when we were growing up and we attempted to learn a few words when we were both in elementary school. In the sixth grade, my school decided to offer an introductory language class and the students were to vote on which language. I lobbied heavily for French and I held my hand the highest when it was time to vote. And French it was! In middle school (it was called junior high back then) and high school, I studied French. Alas, I never reached fluency. I was able to read and write quite well, but my ear for the language was terrible, as was my ability to actually speak it. As the years passed, I only retained a smattering of vocabulary.
On my first trip to France, many years after my last classroom lesson, I was a deer in the headlights. I could read signs but rarely understood anything beyond "Merci" and "Bonjour." A few years ago I started going to a tutor - a Moroccan woman who lived in France and attended university there. It was a bit of a drive to her house so after a few months, I abandoned the lessons.
A few weeks prior to my trip to France this past summer, I decided to brush up on my French a bit with the app "Duolingo." Just those few minutes of practice every night really helped and I was elated when I was able to put together a few sentences here and there - and be understood - during my visit.
When I go back to France this summer!
Stay tuned for more details!