Two and a half years ago I made my first plein air painting voyage to France with my artist friend, Cindy, who did a marvelous job communicating in French for us. The times I would get the drift of what was being said, I’d try to respond- in German! Imagine the puzzled looks from the poor french person trying to help us, not to mention the chagrin on Cindy’s face. But some synapse in the foreign language department of my brain was saying “This isn’t English.” German was my only viable option. By the time we’d made our way through Brittany, I’d decided that I was going to learn French, myself. I had resolved never to speak German to another french person.
That’s reason number three.
Two years and half a dozen french tutors later, I’m going to France to amp up my French. By now, I can mumble in French like any decent three year old garçon. Since no one is able to join me, it will be a two week french boot camp, of sorts. Cindy can’t go because she’s doing her tax season penance for abandoning her accountant-husband, french trips past and future. My partner Jim is already amping into another semester of scales and arpeggios with a new generation of sopranos. And for some reason, not many people want to cross the Atlantic to sit and watch you paint for half the day. So I’ll be flying tout seul. And I confess, it’s a little exhilarating. My client, Wendy, said it best in an email yesterday:
“I am envious about your forthcoming trip. I have traveled solo internationally twice. I’ve found that people are more likely to strike up a conversation with you when you are by yourself. You also can do what you want, whenever you want. It is such an empowering experience that few people have the courage to do.”
Courage or crazy, Wendy? Thanks for putting the positive spin on it!