Thursday, April 05, 2007

Strain on my Brain

Bart can't wait to take these hot babes out to dinner!!!

Learning languages when you are halfway along in life is not as easy as it is when you are a child. Scientifically proven fact! Encourage your children to study foreign language!!! PLEASE!! And Spanish is great - useful in the US of A and all the verb conjugations, feminine/masculine/neutral, informal & formal - all of these work great when learning other languages - like Deutsch. But I am making progress and spent all of Tues. with our Swiss neighbors. The wife has a fairly good command of Engl. - enough for us to enjoy visiting, the husband has a 'little' bit and the two small children know as much Engl. as the mom has been able to teach.

So - we went skiing with them Tues! Michel and the kids were already in her hometown near the ski area and I picked up Daniel and drove with my girls to the ski area. He spoke mostly all Deutsch in the whole 2 hrs it took to get there (a road was closed so a winding detour was in store - I'm not having good luck driving around lately). And therefore, I did too. There were times we just couldn't get there with the language - a word or two that neither could explain sufficiently. But what I have found is that if I know the context of the conversation, I can pretty much figure out the intent and overall meaning even if I can't translate all the words.

So the kids all had their morning lessons while Michel and I skiied on slush for a while. But it was fun and enjoyable and I look forward to taking Bart next year as I thought it was a really good family ski area. She is really good at correcting my pronunciation and giving me the words. Then we were invited to her mother's house for coffee after lunch. So I had the opportunity to see her hometown, the apartment she grew up in and the farm of her grandmother's across the valley where she spent her childhood. It is in an area designated as a UNESCO area (think European National Park/Protection areas). Huge area for hiking besides skiing and an area that caters to tourists who want a "country" Swiss experience - sleep in the hay, hike, milk goats/cows, etc... - great for kids (not for those of us with allergies). It was a treat to be invited and have part of her childhood shared with us. The larger majority in Switzerland still doesn't live more than 40 km from where they were raised unless they go to University and/or travel.

We took Michel back home with us (they have a holiday week and parents are taking turns with alone time) and thanked her for such an enjoyable day. And I must say, I was tired after working my brain so hard all day. But it was good. And I know much more than I did even a month ago. So now we are going to France.

I found that our Engl. and Deutsch were useless in Switz (French). There is definitely a difference in the desire to speak other languages between the French, Deutsch and Italian parts of Switzerland. I think the French Swiss don't pay attention to their foreign language classes in school - and they are required to take them. I did not find many people who would help us in anything but French. The Italians however are more than willing to help you with Italian and the Deutsch as well - they appreciate your efforts. It was interesting. But Mom has assured me we will be fine in Villefrache with our polite French words.
So - until I can blog again - Have a Happy Easter in Celebration of the Risen Christ!

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