I look at these little french four year olds. Their self confidence and content. AND THEIR ABILITY TO SPEAK AND ADAPT TO DIFFERENT LANGUAGES! Yes I am jealous of four year old children.
And no it’s not that whole cliched approach of THEY HAVE SO MUCH JOY. It’s more like I WOULD LIKE TO STEAL THE PLASTICITY OF THEIR BRAIN. They are at this most amazing age that if they went to another country they would learn to speak like a native while still preserving their original mother tongue.
Right now I can sit in a cafe and watch these little kids like a clucky wife and think… I HATE YOU! My ability to speak french had been an overinflated opinion in my beginners class. It says it there. I was the best in the beginners class. (How can you be the best at something when you are only beginning?)
The come down has been a total crash. And to add salt on a wound is these tiny little children who have a vocabulary larger than me. It’s that totally humbling sensation where I am a total Pro in English, but no-one else is!
It has knocked the stuffing out of me. I am like an empty teddy bear. Trying to stay positive in a place I don’t understand is really really hard. Yes for those out there thinking it; I am bitter and twisted. I am not asking to be a know it all. Just to communicate enough that I don’t feel like a continual mime artist.
I just hate being regarded as how I used to think of the Chinese in Australia. You know that we have these particular suburbs with the signs in chinese? EVEYTHING CHINESE? You go there and you can’t speak english cos they all speak chinese. They then go into the normal part of the city and kind of mumble their way through the english and you are frustrated at them.
But their little bilingual kid then goes with them and amazingly enough will switch between the two languages with ease. That’s like the little french kids here, who are now starting english so early that they are comfortable with both. Or their french is so polished that you wish for their FLA(First Language Acquisition) qualities to be betowed upon you by some random language fairy godmother.
Well I am trying and I still feel like a chinese in australia. But in fact I am an Australian in France. If I could steal that plasticity I would.
Wish me luck!