My desire to speak French at a comfortable level is overwhelming. I don’t dream about speaking French only, it is constantly in my thoughts, though at different ranges on the scale.
At the high end are the many occasions when thoughts of chatting, sipping wine and eating in a French restaurant after enjoying a French play or the offerings at Cinémathèque Française are as upfront and vivid as reality.
At the lower end are the oddest of occasions when randomly and unasked the few French phrases I know hop out of my head and into my mouth. Then there are the in-between moments when I have flashes that remind me that French is lurking in my sub-conscious.
I love the cadence of language but now the needed inflexions are afraid to emerge in my voice for fear of being hacked to death by my uncultured tongue. I would therefore jump at an occasion to study there. Immersion in the home of my dream foreign language is what I desire and at my matured age it is the best way forward.
Learning a language; sniffing the French culture, indulging in the delights of that romantic city called Paris, who could ask for more. Not me.
But I don’t want to be stationed in Paris; Ferney-Voltaire is where I want to call home for the year. The country-side setting with the cows ringing their bells in the distance as I walk to the hypermarket will provide enough of the town-country mix that would ensure that I, a rural dweller from 21 by 16 mile Barbados don’t feel homesick.
Ferney-Voltaire puts me on the border with Switzerland. From there I can commute to the cosmopolitan city of Geneva with its snow-capped Alps; learn about French cuisine or complete my studies in international trade and yet have access to cities where fashion, food, art are the hallmark. Get me that year of study, please.