French and I Are Over

But we’re still friends…

You may have figured it out from my blogroll that I am an interpreter. Mainly. I also translate, because when that really nice money from interpreting comes in, I really don’t want to tarnish it with measly expenses, like rent. (Yeah, I’m so rich, I still rent…).

Anyway, you can’t do an MA in interpreting without at least two C languages. Mine were English and French. In the meantime, English became my B and I almost completely discarded French. A good B is worth quite something on the private market and the Romanian booth at the EU institutions still accepts freelancers with just a B (or at least 2 C’s) (for now, and if you pass the test, of course). Shame on me to have done away with such a beautiful language, I know, but it was never true love and French knew it… Marriage of convenience, really…

With English, it was so different. It wasn’t immediate attraction, no love at first sight. Back when I was young, French was the popular kid. English was the weird new kid whose parents nobody knew and everyone was afraid to play with it, even though all the older kids openly admitted that French was kind of pain in the ass and an attention whore. So I was brave enough to approach English myself. We hit it off almost immediately and it has never disappointed me to this day. We have the same mind frame, we’re both pragmatic, to-the-point, no bullshit (as you can see from this blog :P), yet still capable of sensitivity and poetry when the mood strikes us. English is one of my best friends to this day and we have a mutually beneficial relationship, so to speak 🙂

With French, however, different story… I ignored it as much as I could, but it hasn’t gone away to this day. Finally, by 6th grade it insisted on making its insidious presence felt in my life on a weekly basis, at least. Not gonna lie to you, the kid is a looker (or sounder, whatever), we enjoyed some good moments together. But you know the old furniture that takes up a lot of space and doesn’t go with the decor or anything else you may have in your house, but you have to keep it there because it’s a family heirloom and it has sentimental value and shit? Yeah, French is like that.

Oh, France’s exquisite culture, France’s glorious history, the teachers ranted. France has always been Romania’s ally, blah blah blah. See what I mean? Popular kid: my parents have money, my family knows people, I’m connected, look at my flashy clothes and shiny car, pay attention to me, that sort of thing! French has an attitude problem!

It’s not all French’s fault. That’s what happens to people when everyone tells them they’re great: they either turn into dictators who insist on taking over everyone’s lives, or they finally see that they’re not exactly as cool as they thought they were and get all frustrated when someone else steals their thunder.

My relationship with French was all flash and no substance. It insisted on addressing me in the most confusing terms, speaking in metaphors and abusing idioms. It thinks so highly of its grammar and its history, it forgets to live in the present. Soon after we started, I realized French was an old soul who had trouble finding its place in the world. I even felt sorry for it for a while and half-heartedly accepted its pointless conversations, its empty quoting of classics, its refusal to open up and see the world changing around it. So we dragged it on for years and years. In spite of my ongoing relationship with English and my flirting with Italian and German, we ended up at that point in a relationship where there is no going back: you’re stuck with each other. I managed to fake faithfulness quite well until recently, I even fooled myself into believing we had feelings for each other.

But it didn’t work out. French, self-absorbed as it is, realized it was too good for me, and I finally figured out that we didn’t fit together at all, all we ever did was annoy each other. Counseling said it would be better for me to stick with just English for now. They also recommended trying to rekindle my relationship with French in the future, but the thing is: we get along better now that we don’t have to put up with each other anymore.

I recently started a little fling with Spanish (doesn’t everyone?), so let’s wait and see where that will take us.


7 thoughts on “French and I Are Over

  1. anatati says:

    You have a way with words, I must admit 🙂 German and I were not that lucky. It was all thunder and fury between us.

    • nerdskaya says:

      Uuu! First comment! I’m all tingly inside. Păi asta se întamplă când nu ai de ales. Am crescut într-un oraș mic, oferta nu era tare generoasă. În plus, franceza se preda într-un fel tare încuiat la școala. Sper că s-au mai schimbat lucrurile între timp.

  2. […] Skip to content HomeNerrdy ← French and I Are Over October 21, 2011 · 4:11 pm ↓ Jump to […]

  3. anatati says:

    Nu s-au schimbat. Acu’ ceva ani eram şi la catedră, iar colega de franceză era …. well, aşa cum ai descris 😀

    • nerdskaya says:

      Trist! Sper totuși să se trezească la realitate. În Cluj, din câte știu, nu se mai predă franceză în nici o grădiniță sau școală primară. Și e păcat, pentru că oportunități există: multe firme franceze, burse cât încape…

  4. Neil says:

    Fantastic, glad to know I’m not the person thinking about languages in this way. I do feel a bit sorry for French, but I’m sure there must be someone out there who loves it… somewhere!? In any case, the focus on English has clearly payed off – your English is, from what I can see, flawless. So obviously the affection is mutual! Congrats!

    • nerdskaya says:

      Thank you for the compliment 🙂

      And don’t feel so sorry for French. First of all, plenty of people still love it, many of my own colleagues included. Second, I can’t work with just one language and a retour forever, so I will have to add the damn thing by the end of this year.

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