Thanks to visits from couchsurfers in the past week or so, I’ve had a chance to practice my rubbish French, my legendarily awful German, and my handful of words of Dutch.
I’ve been really enjoying my couchsurfing experience. Having someone to stay from a different culture is an amazing way to find out more about their homeland and to swap travel stories, and in a sense almost feels like going travelling yourself.
A couple of French-speaking couchsurfers stayed the last couple of days, and although their English was excellent, I tried to use my French when I could and enjoyed the practice. When they asked me over dinner the other night for the full story of the mullet mission, I told them I was a bit bored of telling it in English, as I often lapse into “radio interview auto-pilot” when telling it.
And so I decided to tell it in French.
It took some time, as anyone who has had the misfortune to talk to me in French will all too readily understand. My story was punctuated with frequent hesitation, as my guests patiently helped me with long-forgotten past participles. I got there in the end, but sincerely doubt that I am anywhere near challenging Eddie Izzard in the bilingual comedy stakes.
But practice is always good, and I explained to my guests that my confidence and enthusiasm at speaking French vastly outstrips my actual ability. They kindly reassured me that this was better than the other way round – that I had ability but never the confidence to use it.
So maybe I should start blogging in French, and people could correct me as I go? Just a thought.
If you see me, give me a wave.