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One down, five to go

November 16, 2018

At last night’s rehearsal I managed to get through one of my six nonsensical (to me) nautical speeches without calling for a line. Only five to go and we open in a week. Gulp. No, it’s fine. As god is my witness, I will learn these lines.

Anyway, back to the lottery ticket.

After yesterday’s post I went online to get a sense of how much it would cost to renovate the kitchen. Unless I’d be satisfied with new cupboard doors (I wouldn’t), a $5000 win really wouldn’t go far.

It did occur to me when I went outside that $5000 would definitely pay to have the deck expanded and quite possibly to cover part of it.

I mean, the umbrella is fine in the summer for a bit of shade in the afternoon, but it’s hardly the same as having a covered deck, is it. Nor is it anything like having an actual sunroom with windows on three sides that could be used year round. (Not that a sunroom could be constructed for $5000.)

Moving right along.

If I won $10,000… Oh, my. Options (other than the obvious and sensible one of paying down my inherited debt) really begin to open up.

If I was willing to forego granite or marble countertops (which I would be), I could definitely replace the kitchen cupboards and get new appliances. Woo, hoo! Could I also replace the black and white tiles in the kitchen and diningroom with wood (not laminate)? No probably not. Oh, well.

A luxury vacation? Maybe. I could definitely afford a couple of nights at Giraffe Manor.

Oh, no, wait a minute. I know what I’d love to do. I’d love to spend a summer living in France and taking an intensive French course.

A bit of French (un tres petit peu) clung to me after my school days. Some of it came back when Mike and I spent a month in France in 1994, but mostly I was completely frustrated. I took a couple of courses at UBC (free for faculty family) when we got back. When I lived in London in the 2000s, I took three more courses. Thanks to Eurostar, I was able to visit Paris frequently. Try as I might, the best I ever managed was graduating from speaking like a four-year-old to speaking like a seven-year-old.

I went to Paris for my birthday in 2003 (in the middle of one of those French courses). After checking into my hotel in Montmartre, I headed for a café I knew. (Although it no longer bears any resemblance, it is the café where Amelie was filmed.) I liked that café because they actually had stools at the bar, so you could get the cheapest price and still have a seat. (For those who don’t know, café prices are graded: cheapest if you are at the bar, more expensive if you sit at a table and most expensive if you sit outside.) I took my seat at the bar, smiled at the server and (in French) wished him a good day and ordered an espresso and a glass of water. There was a copy of Liberation sitting on the counter, so I picked it up to see how much of it I could actually understand. While I was reading the paper a voice pierced through the café – a woman with an American accent saying, “Excuse me. Do we have to order inside or does someone come out?” Everyone in the café turned to look at her. A waitress hurried over, handed her a menu and assured her she would be outside shortly to take her order. As the woman departed and I was turning back to my paper, my gaze and the barman’s met. We both rolled our eyes. Americans, eh? I experienced a comforting moment, knowing that, however lacking my French might be, I would never be that woman.

Which is all very nice, but I still speak French like a four-year-old. Although I can convey the future with aller, I am almost always defeated by the past tense. I don’t want to be able to conduct philosophical conversation with Jean Paul Sartre (assuming he was still alive), I just want to be able to watch a French film without subtitles. Is that too much to ask?

Oh, crap.

This is the school I want to attend. L’institut de français in Villefranche sur Mer. I want to go to this one because it specialises in mature students.  Unfortunately, $10,000 wouldn’t cover it. The cost of the course and accommodation would be $8,694.68. Whilst I could probably get there and back on the change, I’d be left with no spending money, let alone enough to stay on for another month somewhere to work on my French. Quel dommage!

That’s enough for today. Gotta get back to those panto lines.

À demain.

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