Throughout my life I have struggled, either fitfully or concertedly, to improve my French. Achieving facility in a language is not a destination, but a process that requires continuous application. During the last 10 days in Senegal and France I was able to resuscitate my French (once again!) from the grave.
That is not to say that I was able to achieve the meagre levels that I obtained, with great effort, in the past. Rather, I was pleased that I was able to execute the simplest tasks of a tourist verbally, and extract the essence of the meaning from innumerable placards adjacent to the countless paintings that I viewed in museums. I even scanned a few newspapers in Dakar and Paris.
Although Spanish is my second language and I am extremely proud that I am able to speak a second language, my secret dream has always been to be fluent in French. I so much wanted to be able to answer the question: "Parlez vous frances?" with the word, "Oui."
But I cant. Ce la vie.
But I have enjoyed tremendously the pleasure of sitting in the sidewalk cafes in Paris and listening to French being spoken around me. The words "voila" and "d'accord" are wonderful words that convey so much of what it is to be French. The French language and culture and food and drink are pleasures that I have enjoyed and hope to continue to enjoy for the rest of my life.