One of the reasons we embarked on this nomadic adventure was to learn another language, or at least pick up enough to be able to converse with the locals. It’s always been one of those things everyone wants to do, right…learn another language? How romantic it would be to whisper sweet nothings in Sarah’s ear in French, and all that mumbo jumbo! Since leaving Australia in April we’ve lived in Chiang Mai for two months and now France for what will be at least six months. The rest of the time we haven’t really spent enough time in the country to pick up any of the language.
Guess what? I have hardly learnt any French or Thai, and guess what else? I’ve decided I’m not going to bother. Why? I’m glad you asked…
I can’t be bothered to learn French
If I could be anything in the world it would be the lead singer of a band, rocking to full stadiums while whaling on my Fender Stratocaster. I’d be the king of the world, feeling invincible while bucket loads of awesome adrenaline was flowing through my veins. But I’m 41 now and haven’t even gone close to realising that dream. Do you know why? Because I haven’t committed to practicing the guitar for hours every day, and nor do I have the a) confidence, b) talent, or c) desire to get signing lessons for hours on end every week either. So if I can’t be bothered doing the one thing that would make me the happiest person on Earth, why would I be bothered learning how to speak French!
I’m too busy to learn French
We might be on this adventure travelling the world, but it’s not like we’ve gone to a beach resort for a week to relax then head home. This is now our life, and with that we have commitments. We have a couple of mortgages that we’re trying to service while doing this, and let me tell you, that’s not easy. Our bank account is being drained and we’re scrambling to keep our heads above water. So we’re constantly trying to get as much work as possible from oDesk.com to keep some cash coming in. We’re also housesitting until mid-March next year, and with that comes added responsibilities. The place we’re looking after is an enormous chateau with huge grounds, barns, gatehouse, worker’s cottage, fruit orchid, pool house, the list goes on and on. The upkeep on this place keeps us occupied for at least a few of hours every day as well. So with our oDesk work, housesitting responsibilities, looking after our two year old son, doing all of the normal day to day activities like shopping, house cleaning, sleeping, etc., I simply have no time to learn French, even if I could be bothered!
I can’t afford to learn French
I know, I know. There’s plenty of Smartphone apps like Duolingo, or online guides to help you learn how to speak another language without paying for lessons. But let’s be honest, if you’re going to learn a language properly, you need a teacher to deliver properly structured classes and correct your mistakes, and have other people to practice with. Unless you’ve got someone very nice to commit to teaching you properly, then that means paying for lessons. As I’ve already mentioned, we’ve got other financial commitments to focus our attention on first.
Learn French…what’s the point?
Even if I had the desire to learn French, could afford to learn French, and had plenty of time to give it the commitment it needs, the truth is I’m going to be in France for about six months before I move onto the next country. I’ll probably never step foot in another French speaking country again, at least not for long enough to warrant spending the time and money to learn the language. If I started learning French, here’s what would happen. I’d pick up a few phrases, then start using them when I was out and about like at the supermarket, blabbing something out like “noix de macadamia se il vous plait (macadamia nuts please)?” And guess what would happen? The supermarket employee would start explaining where the macadamia nuts were in French, of which I wouldn’t be able to understand anything, and I’d be back to square one!
I’m too old to learn French
Ok, this one is a bit of a cop out, and to be honest, it’s probably here just to add a bit more body to this blog post. But it does have some merit. Scientifically speaking, the older you get the more difficult it is to learn new complex skills..hence the adage about old dogs and new tricks. Of course with the right desire and commitment anything is possible, even learning new languages. But as I’ve already mentioned, I don’t have the passion, time or financial means to learn French properly, which would make it even more difficult for this old dog to learn this particular trick.
So there you have it, my reasons for not learning French, or any other language while I’m on this nomadic adventure for that matter. This could all change of course if we fall in love with a country and decide to live there for the foreseeable future. If English is not the common language, then I will do everything in my power to learn the language. It would be arrogant not to, and knowing the language would make life much less stressful and frustrating. But for now, I’m going to concentrate my efforts on other things, and leave the language learning for another time.