Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ski/French lesson

Skiing doesn't really come easy to me. Not that it's really coming easier to anyone else in my class. Just as soon as you think you're getting the hang of something you fall or lose control. On Sunday my class was all English ladies and they were all really fun and adorable. The next day we had a big dividing period where we skiid down a slope and the teachers stood at the bottom and judged. I ended up in a class with four others. One of the other students was English. The thing about these classes is that they claim to offer courses in English but then half the time they forget that they have English speakers and when they remember they just sort of say something really quickly and use a lot of words in French. They don't know any of the ski lingo in English. Most sentences are something like this:

“Quand tu travers.....eeeuuuuh, when you travers.” Or:
“Au fin de la virage tu mets des skis a parallel...euh, oh, les Anglaise...euuh, at euh, the end of the virage tu put your skis a parallel.”

This really makes almost no difference for me. French and French English sound like the same thing to me. It's only native English that sounds different. However, the only one in our class who understands no French feels as if she's on the outside of the joke all the time and even has to remind the teacher to speak in English. If I can't understand, one of the French people in our class translates. It goes something like this:

Teacher: long string of what I like to call French mumble where the mouth isn't really open and all the ubiquitous homophones of the french language turn into a labyrinth of floating letters and sounds unfamiliar to the English ear and designed to invoke tears from the intermediate French speaker.

French students: nodding “Bon, d'accord”

English student: “What did he say?”

Me: “Uh, something about putting your weight on one foot or something. I don't know.”

French student: “Euuh, he say, euh, leve your exterier foot and age a down quand you turn....euhh, and euhh, keep your euuh epaules straight.”

English student: “um, alrght then.”

Me: “She said to lift your outer foot when you turn and also to keep your shoulders facing forward.” And wondering how much was lost in that double translation.

But it's really beautiful here and the skiing has been fun. The green slope I've been going on yesterday and today has been great and all the inexplicable little blue and red portions of it have been good practice if extremely worrying every time I begin to descend.


  1. You're going to be a star skier when you get least in my terms.

    I got your lovely letter and will be replying in no time. I can't WAIT til you get back because I want to talk about pregger stuff and baby stuff with you. I'm so excited!!!

  2. Haha! That sounds completely frustrating but also hilarious. Poor Englishers.

  3. I left my notebook and letter-in-progress to you at Mor Mor's accidentally and will not get it back for at least a week. To compensate for it's lateness, here is a link!