Jewish Journal

Le’Chaim to France

by Nikki Tabibian

August 27, 2012 | 3:09 pm

During last summer my family and I took a trip to Europe. From what I recall, I enjoyed most of the sites we visited, but one spot particularly captured me. A city, known to many, as the city of love, lights and romance. And a city that shaped the course of my entire high school career. Paris. For while visiting the wonderful city, the Tabibian’s basked in Parisian culture, embracing the night life (but not past 8:30) and most importantly, eating French pastries.

Upon my return to the states, I felt a change in my little heart. For at the tender age of six, I fell in love with the French language (or so I thought). I vowed to take French the day I was liberated from my little Jewish school schtetel and enter the world as a sophisticated and classy Persian-Jewish-American-French-Speaker. So naturally, when asked which language I would like to take freshman year at Brentwood, I picked my first true love, French.

At first, I thought nothing of the course but excitement and thrill, for while skipping ahead in the text, I stumbled upon chapters five ,“Le Repas” or the meal, and chapter seven, “Le centre commercial” or the mall. What else could I possibly need? But gradually, I began to realized that what I’d thought to be a love for the french language was actually a love of their pastries. Oh Mon duei!

The class was quite a challenge, and I tried multiple methods to raise my grade.  My first plan was to get into the mindset of a chick French woman by surrounding myself with various French designers and attempting to order foods that I could barely pronounce. Needless to say, that plan failed. So I switched to plan B: I somehow managed to convince myself that watching a french film would be a far more effective study method than actually reviewing the material. This aided me in developing an impeccable French accent, but no one asked me to roll my arrrrs on the test, so that too was unsuccessful.

At this point, French began looking like an extra terrestrial martian code that my puny human brain lacked the intellect to unlock. I felt the language was so brilliant, that it had a mind of its own, attempting to systematically bring down my GPA through a series of misplaced accents and dashes. But frankly, it wasn’t Frenchies fault.

After receiving the first progress report from Madame (UNDISCLOSED NAME), Madame Tabibian (a.k.a. mother dearest) decided to take action by revealing plan T: the tutor.  And so, on the third week of freshman year the all mighty Mother said, let there be a French tutor. And there was a french tutor.

And the holy tutor gave me ten rules to abide by for each French assignment ,the most divine being number nine: thou shalt use the sacred flash card for each French quiz, test and project. I still follow these ten commandments to this day.

But throughout the pain, suffering and conjugations, I managed to survive and actually enjoy the class. I tackled each new topic with a smile and left with the assurance that if I could conquer Francais, was ready to take on any one of life’s challenges. And with that I would like to say, Le’chaim to love, life and baugettes. Le’chaim to laughter. Have you laughed today?

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