Saturday, February 28, 2015

what french class sounds like...

This is about what we sound like during French class...hopefully not all the time :)

When we stop and think about it, we remember how funny we really sound during class.  Pronunciation aside...the things we are actually saying would sound pretty odd in English.

For example; a few weeks ago we learned how to conjugate reflexive verbs in the negative and in the past tense.  In french "je ne me suis pas lavé...tu ne t'es pas lavé ne s'est pas lavé"
Which, in English, would be a classroom of people slowly repeating "I did not wash myself, you did not wash yourself, he did not wash himself, she did not wash herself, we did not wash ourselves" and so on.  And repeat. 

And our instructor's corrections (all said in French) would also sound pretty funny:
"no- you just said you are talking to a thing.  We can't talk to things...unless you are a child talking to a flower.  Talk about a thing, talk to a person."  

Learning the prepositions that go with each verb is one of the more challenging things...for example in French you don't get married to someone, the preposition is more like saying married with someone.  If we just translate all the words from an English sentence directly into French, it won't make any sense.  It's not enough just to learn words, we need to learn how to construct real sentences from them.

During class we also do lots of fill in the blank exercises- we go around the room and each take a turn answering.  It's always easier to figure out the answer when it's someone else's question, and the attention isn't on you. When the attention is on's suddenly much harder to remember things.  Recently in one of these exercises, Nick was desperately trying to think of the French word for weekend...turns out the French word is "week-end".  

I downloaded some French children's books on my iPad as a fun way to practice.  Nick and I have been reading them together each day...we just finished a book about some dinosaurs:

Outside of class...

We've had a few chances to go skiing- the mountains are so beautiful!!

Here's our new friends the Kendall family, they will be going to work and teach in a hospital in Togo.   

We went out on a date recently and ordered some traditional Savoyarde cuisine.

 Quote from nick: "I think what I have here is mostly a bowl full of cheese. And it is delicious."  
This region knows how to make comfort food.

Here's one more funny video...
we are better off in French than Joey here, but sometimes we still feel like this :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

we visited the medieval city next door..

All the schools in this region (including ours) are on winter holidays...even though the break came early in the school semester for us, our brains have been stretched so much over the last month that we are all grateful for the time off from classes.

On the outskirts of Albertville, there is a medieval town called Conflans.  It's been around for a long time, dating back to when this area was part of the Roman empire.  Nick and I went and visited on monday afternoon, it was clear and sunny- a good day to see the view of the surrounding area.  

(You can see the chateau in Conflans in the above picture) 

 One of the first things Nick did once we arrived in Albertville was find us some used bicycles, and they have been a great way to get around the city.  

This is the old town of Conflans....

Nick is always the tour guide..."historical facts" from his tours make everywhere we visit even more interesting.  :)

Always watch out for falling icicles....(but they do look pretty)

Here's the church...

This snowman made me laugh...looks like he wants inside :)

In Conflans, there is also a small art and history museum, where we learned about the background of the Savoie region.  

We learned a bit about the culture of the area...

We had the option of listening to the tour in French or English.  I chose English, but Nick was more ambitious and chose French.

This region wasn't part of France until quite recent history, in 1860.  
From what I can gather from the poster below, it's basically saying "habitants of Savoie, congratulations, you are all French now!"

And then one day, a man brought back several pairs of cross country (nordic) skis from scandinavia, and they thought it would be fun to try them downhill....

....and downhill skiing really caught on, and this region quickly became a popular tourist destination

A few more views of Albertville from above in Conflans....

Monday, February 2, 2015

French houses

There are so many lovely french houses in the area, I took a walk (trudged through the snow) yesterday to take pictures of some of them and of the town.  The style of the homes here is so different than what I'm used to, I love looking at them and picking out my favorites.

The first few houses are on the ones on our road...

This one is my favorite so far.  It is standing empty right now, but soon will be under construction to be renovated.  (there is a sign in front saying that it will become a retirement home)

  Every time I walk past it I can't help but stop and look through the iron gate- it looks like the setting of a fairy tale.  

And this is another favorite of mine, down on the street corner.

Then I headed more into town...

I love the red doorway and and shutters on this one

Albertville really is lovely, even when it's so cloudy you can't see the mountains.

The city has lots of holiday decorations up still, and lights hanging over the streets.

friends...there is LOTS of snow here right just doesn't stop!

Thanks for reading, have a good monday!