I Want to Become Fluent in French

Like, really. So all the way back in 6th grade, I decided that the next year, in seventh grade, I wanted to take French. It would be perfect. I would become fluent in French, become a successful fashion designer, and then I would be able to speak to French people when I’d be in France for Paris Fashion Week twice a year. Well, things changed a bit. I really did enjoy French I, during seventh and eighth grade. I learned a lot, like the introductory stuff, and I gained a foundation in French. I built my vocabulary. By the start of high school, I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to become a fashion designer anymore, but that wasn’t going to stop me from taking French classes. Plus, there was a minimum two-year language requirement at my high school. My ninth grade French class was kind of a joke. No one took it seriously, but I still learned and did well. The passé composé was introduced, and I increased my vocabulary. Tenth grade went well too, other than the fact that pretty much all of the other tenses were introduced and things became a bit overwhelming. I also learned that I struggle with remembering all of the damn verb endings and their irregularities. By junior year, I was definitely on the track to taking French all four years of high school–since it looked good for colleges. And after all of these years, I’d have to be fluent in French by now, right? Yet, I lost the interest in eleventh and twelfth grade. My teacher definitely had something to do with this, as well as the amount of grammar. So, to make a long story short, I completed AP French, and I’m definitely not fluent in the language. Ultimately, I am very glad that I took French for so long and in school. I am especially grateful for my early years of French. It really built my vocabulary, and it taught me that conjugating even existed. I was forced to sit and memorize long lists of vocabulary, so now I know some words in French. I was forced to learn different verb patterns, and I know at least some of them pretty well. DR. & MRS. VANDERTRAMP, anyone? But in other ways, I think that the way in which French was taught to me was quite ineffective. If the goal is to communicate with other French speakers, I’ve been failed miserably. I’ll admit, that some of my lack of communication skills is totally on me. I could have tried a lot harder during oral and auditory exercises. But on the other hand, I feel like there should have been greater emphasis on speaking and listening in the classroom. I understand that it is difficult to take the immersion route, when French class is only 45 minutes, 5 days a week. But the past is the past. Since going to college and becoming friends with so many people who are fluent in at least two languages, my enthusiasm for learning French was sparked again. This was combined with my strong desire to travel and my general love of all things French. So towards the end of the spring semester, I started to work on French. It had been since June 2014 that I’d really done any French, so I was a bit rusty. BUT, I remembered a lot more than I thought I had. I downloaded the Duolingo app, and I worked on that every day for a couple of weeks…until I stopped. I learned to sing (with lyrics in front of me) Carla Bruni’s song, “Quelqu’un m’a dit” using the website tunetranscriber.com. When I got home, I labeled everything I could get my hands on in French words. I still look at them everyday. I started listening to the podcast News in Slow French, as well as RFI’s simple French news podcast. I’ve read and translated news articles from lemonde.fr. I started reading the children’s story James and the Giant Peach in French. I’ve tried to learn other French songs and translated lyrics (I’ve been loving Stromae). I found some YouTube channels to be helpful as well, such as DamonandJo (highly recommended!!!), ohlalafrench, and easyfrench. I even tried watching a couple of movies (L’amour et turbulences/Love Is In the Air and L’auberge espagnole). While I probably only understood about 10%, the language exposure is good. And once a week I talk with a native speaker for an hour. Every day since coming back from school, I’ve worked on French a little bit. Sometimes, it’s only three minutes, if I’m being honest, but that’s better than nothing. All of this practice has highlighted my successes and struggles. In general, I know a pretty good amount of French. But there are still many, many words that I do not know. I still struggle the most with understanding when other people speak in French. I’m not too bad at speaking myself, but sometimes the sentence structure trips me up a bit. I really need to improve my knowledge of verb conjugations, increase my vocabulary, and gain a better understanding of grammar. All in all, I’m trying. I’m doing my best. What I know is that I want to become fluent, and I’m willing to do the time. Let me know if you’re learning French or another language! Also let me know if you’d like to hear more about my French language adventure!

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Well Hello There…

Okay, it’s been awhile. Like a whole year. Too long. SO much to say.

I’ve completed my first year of college. I have an insanely strong desire to travel. I’ve discovered a ton of new music. I’ve finished and started new shows on Netflix. And I really want to become fluent in French. So I have a lot to write about, in other words. Look out for new content in the coming weeks!

Glad to be back!

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Summer Playlist #6

Welcome to the Summer Playlist. This is where I share four song I’ve been loving each week.  Just to give you an idea of what you’ll be hearing, it’s mostly alternative, upbeat music, with electronic influences. This week I’m going to share some favorite summer songs from previous summers.

1. Faith to Fall Back On by Hunter Hayes – I absolutely LOVE this song! I’m not the biggest fan of country music, but I love Hunter Hayes. This song is so laid back and feel good. It makes life feel like everything is right.

2. Cry Like a Ghost by Passion Pit – This song couldn’t be more polar opposite than Hunter Hayes. But I love it! Passion Pit in general is awesome summer music. They have crazy weird electronic tracks. The chorus of this song is awesome. SYLVIA!

3. Someday by The Strokes – This song is a get-up-and-go song, and it’s super upbeat. I feel like his voice is either love it or hate it. I think it’s cool and different.

4. Hide by Yellowcard – This song reminds me so much of the beach because I listened to this whole album at the beach for a week nonstop. I kind of find the song soothing, maybe because I associate it with the beach? It’s a good high energy song.

 

Let me know if you have any awesome summer music!

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Summer Playlist #5

Welcome to the Summer Playlist. This is where I share four song I’ve been loving each week.  Just to give you an idea of what you’ll be hearing, it’s mostly alternative, upbeat music, with electronic influences. Here are the previous ones (one, two, three, and four).

 

1. Boom Clap by Charlie XCX – The chorus is SO freaking catchy! It just makes me want to get up and dance around. The other verses are so-so in my opinion, but the chorus totally makes up for it!

2. Don’t by Ed Sheeran – This song has a really good beat to it. Plus, it’s Ed Sheeran, so it’s gotta be pretty awesome. His slow rapping is pretty awesome.

3. Stay With Me by Sam Smith – This song is so sweet. It’s like a lullaby. The chorus during the chorus is nice, too.

4. Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz – I like the background music in this song. It’s actually a pretty upbeat song for having not so upbeat music. I also like his voice.

 

Let me know if you have any awesome summer music!

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Summer Playlist #4

Welcome to the Summer Playlist. This is where I share four song I’ve been loving each week.  Just to give you an idea of what you’ll be hearing, it’s mostly alternative, upbeat music, with electronic influences. Here’s the first one, here’s the second one, and here’s the third one.

1. Somebody Loves You by Betty Who – This song is really upbeat and has an awesome beat.

2. Where the Kids Are by Blondfire – This song is a bit slower and sounds more reflective.

3. Cheap Sunglasses by RAC (ft. Matthew Koma) – This song is really catchy. And I love the lyrics.

4. Surround You by Echosmith– This song is a lot slower, but it is so sweet.

 

Let me know if you have any awesome summer music!

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Summer Playlist #3

Welcome to the Summer Playlist. This is where I share four song I’ve been loving each week.  Just to give you an idea of what you’ll be hearing, it’s mostly alternative, upbeat music, with electronic influences. Here’s the first one, and here’s the second one.

1. Start a Fire by Unspoken – I always find myself tapping my foot to this song. It feels very inspiring to me. Its also got a good beat.

2. Young Hearts by Strange Talk – I love all of the echo-yness of the song. Its a good song for someone who is young and free. This song is also very inspiring sounding.

3. Count On Me by Mat Kearney – I love the backup to this song. And I like his voice.

4. Thunder Clatter by Wild Cub – This song reminds me of waterfalls and water slides for some reason… It’s super upbeat and sounds like you’re ready to conquer anything.

 

Let me know if you have any awesome summer music!

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HS Graduate & Getting Into the Swing of Summer

Time is FLYING!

I have recently graduated from high school! Woohoo!! It’s only been about a week, but graduation seems so long ago. I am happy that it is over, though. I must admit that senior year was a pretty good year (definitely my favorite of the four), but I don’t feel like I am going to miss it. I’m going to miss a small bunch of my friends, simply because I won’t get to see them five days a week anymore. I’m not going to miss (most of) the teacher, all of the homework, or just the daily grind of high school.

I am working at summer camp as a camp counselor this year. I’m getting into the swing of things. Though I’m not a fan of waking up early, it’s nice to have a daily routine. Plus, I get out of work early enough that I still have a day leftover.

There’s a TON of stuff I have to do before leaving for college such as: cleaning my room and getting rid of a bunch of junk, shopping for dorm and school supplies, not to mention mentally preparing myself.

I’m very nervous for college. I know that it’s perfectly normal to be nervous, but I’m still nervous. I’m worried that maybe I didn’t choose the right college. I’m nervous that I’m going to HATE my roommate (I don’t expect to be best friends or anything). I’m nervous that I’m going to be very sad being so far away from my home and family. I’m nervous that it’s going to be difficult to make friends. I’m nervous that I won’t be able to manage the workload in college. I’m nervous about the unknown.

But, I should just live in the moment and enjoy summer!

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