Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bonne Chance Marite!

I have always regretted not speaking more than one language. Last fall I mentioned to a friend that I was planning a trip to Paris and wanted to learn some conversational French. I had borrowed some CD's from the library and was listening to French music, especially Edith Piaf, but was longing to find some conversation partners, somewhere to immerse myself in the language. She knew of a local French Club and gave me the contact information. I called the day of the meeting and had by telephone my first encounter with the human dynamo named Marite!


She was welcoming and encouraging and insisted I come to the meeting that very day. I felt that deep recognition in my body, that thrill when you know something perfectly wonderful is about to begin. Do you know the feeling I am talking about, when a surge of energy pulses through you?

French Club is exactly what I had been wishing for, a group of lively, funny, bright people who gather weekly to speak all things French. At that first meeting, they very kindly introduced themselves in English so I had some context about each person's life. Then the rapid fire French began! By the end of an hour my head was spinning. Quelle surprise!

Members bring items to share or a story from their life. Sometimes Marite will have a question she poses to each of us or will suggest we question one another. Sometimes folks just have something to share and we talk about that. For instance, we discussed a newspaper article one woman brought to class about bilingual people faring better when struck with Alzheimer's. Or if someone has recently traveled they will share their vacation pictures and experiences. This is great fun! The French skills of the members are varied. Several are fluent, some are easily able to comprehend and to make themselves understood. As a beginner, my comprehension skills have taken a huge leap forward and I am taking tentative steps into speaking.

Marite is the spark for the group. She has razor sharp wit and a joyful take on life that keeps the energy of the session high. As her husband has just retired and they will be traveling frequently, she is handing over the club to another member. Today was our farewell luncheon for her.

The French Club

I know people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. The reason she was in my life was to encourage me to pursue my dream of becoming bilingual. While she was present for barely more than a season, what she began will be with me for a lifetime. Merci et au revoir Marite!


  1. I hope it continues without this key player, non? ;) I speak German, studied French as a child, but remember almost nothing. Have fun and most importantly, go to France!

  2. Mais oui, Le Club Francais continue! Paris en Juin!