Thursday, January 25, 2007

Repitez, si vous plait

Resolved to learn at least one of the two official languages spoken here in Brussels, I enrolled in French classes. Tuesday was my first day. We spent three hours learning the French alphabet. For those of you inclined to do the math, this equates to roughly 7 minutes per letter.

Frankly, I believe I could have mastered the letters, b, c, d, f, g, j, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, v and z, in well under the time allotted, but I thought it best not to rock the boat, it being my first day and all. It didn't take long for me, and the other students in the class, to recognize my problem spots --the letters "e" and "u".

According to my professor, who, by the way, is fluent in French, English, Italian, Spanish, Greek and ancient Latin (as opposed to current Latin, I wanted to ask her?) , the letter "e" sounds like the "oo" in "moo," whereas the letter "u", sounds like the "ou" in "you." Perhaps it's the bastardization of my language skills as a result of spending 26 years in Texas, followed by another 10 in southern California, and then a very traumatic year of communicating in sentence fragments, pointing and sign language here in Brussels, but I just can't hear the difference between the two sounds. Yoo try it.

Anyone care to guess what my homework was? You guessed it -- review the alphabet!

I'm Baaacckkk!

In case anyone is still reading, I'm back in Brussels! If you are wondering what's new in the three months since I've been away, here's the list to date:

  1. Smoking is no longer permitted inside McDonald's. My attention was drawn to the new "no-smoking" sign hanging on the wall by the two dogs fighting under it, No the irony does not escape me;
  2. Our cable goes out every time I use the phone;
  3. It's 35 degrees F and everyone is talking about how unseasonably warm it is - including me!;
  4. The little tavern on the corner has completely remodeled and changed its name to the Fleur de Jasmine;
  5. Soldes, Soldes, Soldes!

(If you are still reading, thanks!)