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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Weekly French Class

I came close to canceling my French class on Wednesday because the temperature was hovering around freezing when I woke up. This is as cold as it ever gets in Valencia. I have new windows in the front room of the apartment and even without the heat on it is comfortable. Last winter I suffered a bit at these same temperatures. Although I am fairly comfortable at home I didn’t really feel like an early morning bike ride across town to Cabanyal, but I did it anyway because once I make up my mind to do something I stick with it. I made up my mind two months ago that I was going to make a huge improvement in my French. So I got dressed and grabbed a Valenbisí bike at the corner.

I was wrapped up like a sausage in a thermal sweatshirt and my down parka. I even slipped on my leather gloves just to be on the safe side, but these cold days in Valencia invariably require one other bit of gear: sunglasses. I had a leisurely ride to Cabañal with short bouts of sprinting when I felt like it. I thought that I rode pretty hard on the way home but after checking my times on the www.valenbisi.es I saw that there was only a difference of two minutes (21 and 19 minutes, nothing to be proud of). I could spend two minutes waiting for a traffic light, or not fucking waiting which I am totally guilty of on a regular basis. I had a cop tell me to get off the sidewalk downtown yesterday even though I was riding so slowly I was on the verge of falling over. I didn’t say anything, no smart-ass come-back like I’ve done before, “¿Por esto querías ser policía?” (this is why you became a cop?). I know it’s against the law to ride n the sidewalk but it just seems stupid to dismount when there aren’t any pedestrians around and I’m only going to the middle of the block.

After finishing Albert Camus’ L’Etranger I have been looking for something else to read in French. I wanted something short and not too difficult. I have a couple of texts meant for students of French but they are both way too easy. I found a copy of Soie (Silk) by Alessandro Baricco at Ubik Café in Ruzafa.  I had never heard of the book before but it evidently was quite popular and was also made into a film. It’s translated into French from Italian which makes it easier for me to read and it’s also very short at only 142 pages. I should finish it in less than a week.

My French teacher has a little Bichon Frise which means something like “curly bug” in French. Her dog completely loses her little mind when she sees me. I usually arrive to class just as my teacher is taking the dog out and the little bug will see me a block away and come flying down the sidewalk to greet me. I need to speak French more than this one hour a week but going to class every Wednesday motivates me to read. If I keep up at this pace I know that by summer I’ll be fairly satisfied with my French. Reading in French hasn’t completely usurped my reading in Spanish but I definitely read less now in Spanish. I just need to do more of both.

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