Back in the summer of 2006 I spent about six weeks in Europe, mostly Paris.
I was there taking architecture classes, and learning photography on my own. I was with a bunch of my classmates from LTU, and in reality we were out having more fun than we were learning much of anything.
We never had much trouble getting around. I had a girlfriend at the time that spoke French and she made an academic trip to Paris around the same time I did, so she was around. And we had another girl in our group from LTU that spoke French. So most of the nightclubs or bars we wanted to get into we were able to get past the bouncers and order our drinks. We were able to order food at any restaurant we dined at.
In reality, we didn’t need to use French that much. Most everyone spoke English, at least enough to go with the little French I picked up to muddle through ordering some food, or buying a book at a museum.
The other countries I went to, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, everyone spoke plenty of English. We had a few problems in Italy, but we were at a restaurant and everyone knows Italian food pretty well.
I was envious of my girlfriend’s ability to speak the language, and read philosophy in the original language and watch French films without the subtitles. And I was encouraged by how quickly I picked up the language while I was there. So much so that I decided I wanted to learn French for real once I got back to the states.
I never did, of course. Design school got in the way, and possibly the greatest Tiger’s season of my adult life. But the dream still lives on in me. I am constantly checking Rosetta Stone prices and convincing myself that I can do it. I do believe I can, but I know I won’t have anyone to speak it with, so I’ll just lose it.
On Black Friday this year Rosetta Stone dropped their prices by 60%, and I almost bought it. I called my wife and she had to convince me not to. And I didn’t. But it never went away. That reduced price is simply the price now. I get emails, mocking my inability to purchase the product, at least weekly I want to tear my hair out.
One day I will buy it and learn French and be the only one around that knows how to speak it. I guess it will just be for me, whenever I get to read philosophy in its original language, or watch a French film without the subtitles, alone.