Aha! "Troisième" is a word I know, because when I spent Christmas in Paris... goodness, five years ago... I rented a tiny apartment in the third arrondissement for two weeks. The third isn't a particularly interesting place, which I suppose is why it was so cheap Paris-wise, but it was easy walking distance from the first and several other good places. I got to pass the Pompidou anytime I came or went. What could be better? And the apartment was in a building with regular Parisians. Unfortunately, the top of the building burned down while I was there and those regular Parisians were displaced. Les pompiers de Paris, you are splendid.
I had my third lesson--it had been more than two weeks. If you've read the preceding posts, you know I've been kind of glum about what little progress I felt like I was making. But the third lesson went very well indeed; we had limited conversation about the origins of Cinco de Mayo, political news, and my cake-baking methods. There was little structured about the lesson, and my teacher apologized for that and said there would be more structure in the future; I protested that I liked this better. He laughed and agreed that being able to converse was the whole point, but nevertheless, there would be more structure. I know from experience that I do need to be pushed, so that will probably be good for me.
Stay with me for a moment here while I make a comparison. I went through a stage where I didn't like to take medicine. (Most people do. These days I get impatient with people who talk smugly, proudly, or special-snowflakely about how they "never take medicine". Why suffer? Having a headache and not being able to rest or work instead of popping some acetaminophen doesn't make you a better person.) Then I went through a stage where I would take medicine so I wouldn't come off as smug or like I wasn't willing to take the help offered me, but I didn't really believe in it. If I had a bad headache or cramps I would take some painkiller, and then when the pain went away about an hour later I would think to myself "Why did I even bother to take that medicine? If I had only been patient enough to wait an hour, it would have gone away!" It probably sounds silly when someone else says it, but I think that's a common thing to think. I hear it in my patients all the time. "I can't be that sick, I guess, because the pain went away not long after I took whatever medicine that was you gave me!" Yeah, morphine will do that.
So. In the two weeks that I went without having a lesson, I was keeping busy with French. I was reading books, watching dubbed-into-French television, listening to Radio France, and working through LiveMocha. And thinking to myself the whole time... as you can see by my posts... that I was just going through the motions, and nothing I was doing was really going to help me learn French. Then I finally had a lesson, and everything went so well--I was speaking and understanding much, much more French than I had at the previous lesson. And I thought to myself "why did I waste my time reading/watching/listening/working when I was going to do so well at my lesson anyway?".
Right. Clearly I did not waste my time. Having a bunch of different tools at my disposal is definitely important! If I couldn't take lessons for a while... or if I lost my internet connection for a while... or if the county went on strike and the library closed for a while... I would still have resources to continue my French learning.
Aujourd'hui est une journée ensoleillée pour apprendre le français.