penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Un château des cartes

with 2 comments

Here I am, back again in French language training.  This time I am focusing only on the verbal test and I am only here half days for eight some odd weeks (if all goes according to Hoyle) – unlike the last time when I was trying to pass the comprehension, grammar and verbal test all in one go and I was away from work for three months.

I am really very lucky to have this opportunity – language training is being seen as a luxury and employees are expected to either come to the job already bilingual or to pay for it out of pocket.  I am also very fortunate to have a manager who understands this is something I need and is willing to give me the time, space and budget to do it.  I want to do justice to the support she is giving me.

I am also grateful to my family who is helping me to carve out time to do homework and is putting up with me (mostly) tuning into French radio.  They are putting up with an increasingly untidy house and absent minded mother.

My work team has been more than gracious too as I pop in and out of the work day via Blackberry – usually just in time to tell them what they already know or to provide instructions that are already several hours late.  They’re managing themselves while I’m a ghost on the sideline.

Most days, though I feel as though a half day at French, a half day at work (attempting to fit in a whole day in that time) and a half day at home (trying to put in a full day worth of work there too) on top of homework and children’s projects and volunteer work somehow adds up to more than 24 hours.  It has put into perspective the fragility of the stability of the house of cards our lives are made up of.  It is being quickly overwhelmed.   There isn’t enough time to do it all.  Certainly anything extra (like, I don’t know, say blogging) has fallen by the wayside.

Yet, I find there may be value of doing half days over full days.  By the end of a full day of French training, I felt like I had slogged through a muddy swamp of grammar and not managed to get very far in my voyage.  After a day of talking and talking and talking about work I wasn’t doing, I felt empty and exhausted.  Part of this could possibly be chalked up to the fact that I had just completed my maternity leave. I was still managing many sleepless nights and a brain that had been eaten by a baby.

Going to work half days also helps me to feel as though I am keeping in touch with my career and my colleagues – so I haven’t lost sight of why I am doing this.  It also helps to give me ideas on how to answer all those pesky questions about my work, tasks, responsibilities and projects the teachers ask me over and over again.  I think it may even be helping me keep sane.

Either way something must be working.  French is increasingly creeping into my English vocabulary – so I am currently unable to write, speak or edit in either official language.  I’m also having those strangely vivid dreams again that I had the last few times I have studied French seriously.  I figure it’s my brain’s way of trying to sort out what I’ve been trying to stuff into it all day long.  Following the Hebbian theory of “cells firing together, wiring together,” I figure that my brain is literally rewiring itself as I learn.  While it’s making me foggy at home and at work, I’m hoping it also means something will click together soon.

But I’ve given up on the housework.  Beware the dust buffalo roaming the floor and the teetering mountains of laundry.


Written by pennyinacastle

January 29, 2014 at 4:01 am

2 Responses

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  1. Hire someone to clean your house and do laundry! Once every two or three weeks, during the time you’re doing the course will do the trick. What is money for if not to make life better? And won’t you be getting a bilingual bonus when you complete the training? 🙂

    Debra Isabel Huron

    January 29, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    • I agree! I used to have a house cleaning fairy and I really, really miss him (it was magical to come home to a clean house). Someday I will say the magic words and he will come back. However, a couple of things stand in my way. My budget is also a delicate balance – most of it is used by by daycare. Daycare costs more than my mortgage (a post for another time!). That being said, it is important for me to have the kids in excellent care with really good programs. I’d rather pay more for that, know that my kids are well taken care of and miss out on other luxuries (I will admit, it all comes down to choices and priorities – mine may be different from others and that is what makes life interesting).

      The second problem is that a house cleaning fairy – while very good at cleaning the floors, counters and bathrooms to ensure the dust buffalo don’t roam – is not going to help me with the day-to-day slog of cleaning up eight thousand pieces of Lego, a mound of dishes and a mountain of laundry (it’s not in the job description). Actually, I usually have to tidy up before they get here so that they can get the other cleaning done – otherwise they would never be able to see the floor to clean it.

      However, I realize that all this will improve with time. Language training will one day be over. I will receive my bonus, daycare is becoming less costly as the kids get older and I may just call my house cleaning fairy back into service. I am trying to get the kides to be more self propelled and helpful around the house. It’s just right now that it all feels a bit overwhelming.


      January 30, 2014 at 2:43 am

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