Finally Done

Yes, I’ve finally finished my French training and I succeeded in getting the required levels, but I gotta say, it almost did me in. In theory, getting paid to go to school sounds like a marvelous lark. In practice, it’s a bird of an entirely different complexion.

Sitting in a tiny, airless room for 8 ½ hours every day with four other people, and an instructor, having one subject and one subject only pounded into your tired old brain day after day after day without a break isn’t as much fun as it sounds. And it’s not like real school where you can zone out when you get bored. No, you have to pay attention every second or miss something really important. Also, with only five people, you have to do a lot of participating.

Add to this the constant stress of tests every few weeks and, in my case, being in a class where everyone else was way more advanced… takes a toll. I had three colds in 7 ½ months! Normally, I get a cold once every five years or so. I also developed some sort of killer stomach acid problem and now have to take some nasty pharmaceuticals for a while and I don’t get to eat or drink anything good anymore.

 It IS cool that I can now have a simple conversation in French, but man – I wish they’d just let me go to France for those 7 ½ months for immersion instead.

So now I go back to work for a while and then at the end of June, I’m moving back to Toronto. XUP Jr. will be finished high school and is going on to post-secondary studies in the fashion biz in Toronto. I’ve got myself a transfer to our Toronto office. And… most of our extended family is down in that neck of the woods — so aside from all the lovely people I’ve met here in Ottawa, there is no reason for me to stay here.

Meanwhile, I finally have my weekends back, so I can catch up on the blogosphere a bit. There have been so many blogworthy events I missed out on.

À bientôt!!


45 responses to “Finally Done

  1. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! The question is will you ever need to use your French professionally?

    Papa Pan would wholeheartedly recommend that the immersion would work better too, and be more fun.

    So is XUP Jr going to Ryerson?

    I’m so glad you’re back here, I’ve missed you!

  2. Congratulations XUP! I trust you are celebrating? So happy you are back blogging…you’ve been missed. 🙂 Feel better soon.

  3. Congratulations! I forgot that you were doing that and was actually starting to worry about you. Welcome back.

  4. Yay! Missed you.
    Big congrats on completing the French training. I’ve been having a few hours of training a week with the French teacher at our building, and it’s helpful, but probably not as great as the intensive training would be.
    And you’re taking off to anglo Toronto after all that hard work?! Quel dommage!

  5. Congrats on finishing the course, it must have been hell. Congrats to the offspring on the advanced studies as well. You gals are ginchiest!

  6. So glad to see new posts going up on XUP! Congrats on the French, and on the job transfer and on Jr XUP’s plans for next year. We will miss you dearly here in Ottawa though.

  7. Woot! Glad you’ve finally escaped, and met with success.

    I only got CBB on my test last fall, so if I ever got a civil service job, I guess I’d be banished to that place too.

    Congrats and have fun in Toronto!

  8. My stomach did a flip flop when I saw that there was a new post from Xup this morning. You have been missed. A big congratulations to you on getting your french levels – as someone doing only 4 hours of french class a week, I can understand how difficult full time must be. My brain usually hurts at the end of my 2 hour class.
    It’s sad for the Ottawa blogging community that you will be moving to Toronto, and I hope we will be able to keep in touch through the blogosphere.

  9. Congrats, I guess, on completing the French stuff, but if I’d realized it was a prerequisite for you leaving Ottawa I would have done more to sabotage it.

    You did miss some blogworthy events, and so did the rest of us: you were usually the one who organized the Ottawa Bloggers Breakfasts, so I don’t think there were any!

    I can’t go back to school because I couldn’t commit to focusing all my attention on one thing, especially for four years. You deserve props for sticking through eight by eight.

    – RG>

  10. Violetsky – Hellish might be a bit strong. There were some good times, too. I had a great class and great teachers. I think it was the complete confinement and concentrated focus required that made it seem so awful sometimes. There were Monday mornings when I literally had a panic attack at the thought of having to leave my home and going back for another week of French. Crazy, eh?

    Mudmamma – Even if I don’t use my French professionally, I will definitely do my best to maintain it so I can use it personally. But I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to use it at work from time to time, too. And no, not Ryerson.

    Jen – I will try. The big city should be good for more than a few blog posts, right?

    Laura – Thanks. I do feel much better now. And sooooo relieved. I’ve been celebrating all weekend in that this has been the first weekend since early October that’s actually felt like a weekend. It’s amazing. I feel like I’ve been released from prison.

    Aliastaken – Thanks. I’m still in one piece, though my head is a little crowded right now while it’s trying to decide what it can dispose of to make permanent room for all that French.

    Em – Well, I figure I’ll be the city’s leading expert on the French language, so that has to be good, right? But really, working for the feds, there is always opportunity to use French, I think.

    Dr. Monkey – Thanks! And re: “hell”… see my response to Violetsky. It was still a great opportunity. Would I do it again, knowing what I know now? Hmmmmmmmmmmm

    Julie – Thanks lady. I will be back for visits both personal and professional. I will try to make them coincide with BOLO!

    Squid – CBB is good enough for a public service job – unless you want to be an executive. There are lots of BBB jobs and CBC jobs (except AT the CBC).

    Finola – I know. I think half a day would have been more than enough. Or maybe only 4 days of the week with one day to do all the homework and let all the cramming sink in. We’ll have to parler some time!

    Grouchy – It wasn’t a prerequisite. I had been planning on getting back to southern Ontario anyway. And, ya – what is it with you slackers? Anyone can organize a breakfast. You send out a notice to the mailing list a week or so in advance, a reminder a couple of days before and then wait and see who shows up. Sheesh. (What’s eight by eight? I’m not up on all this Anglo slang)

  11. Sure, anyone can send a message out to the list, but you’re the one with the e-mail account access!

    8×8 = eight months of eight hours/day. It’s not Anglo slang, it’s RG slang.

    – RG>

  12. hey! Good to see you writing again. I’d been wondering when the course was supposed to finish. Congrats on passing everything. Good luck with the move as well. Moving is never fun, but I imagine it’ll be worth the work. I look foreword to reading more.

  13. Hey, welcome back, XUP! I was just thinking about you the other day (honest, I was!), thinking that your course must be just about finished and that you just might get back to posting very soon. I’ll now look forward to hearing all about life in The Centre of the Universe – en français, bien sûr!

  14. Félicitations!!! … bien fait!

    It is a wonderful opportunity to learn a new language, even if it is in a small tiny class or if it is with a well-packed room… all the sacrifices and efforts will pay with your satisfaction feelings of an accomplished task.

    Do you know why the language profile shows a C as a higher level than B or A… is it not backwards??? … I am always wondering why!

  15. Because E and X are higher levels. One’s for fully bilingual/exempt from testing. I’m not sure which or what the other is offhand as I’ve never been tested (I might have bilingualism and may even be spreading it and don’t even know it. I’m a public health menace!)

    – RG>

  16. Jessica – I kind of like moving. Clearing out all the junk, starting fresh with just the important stuff, getting to know a new neighbourhood. I’m looking forward to it! Thanks.

    Pinklea – Ya, it’s been a long time since I’ve lived at the centre of the universe. It will be interesting to see how things have changed. Nice to hear from you!

    Nathalia – I’m not sure how they figure these things out. X means you’ve failed completely. A means you know a tiny bit of French. B means you have a reasonable comprehension and an understanding of grammar and can hold a simple conversation. C means you can conduct business in the language. E means you are as proficient in the language as a native speaker, though perhaps not an overly educated one. P means you are a master of the language and are able to craft complex documents.

    Grouchy – See above. And ya, having that conversation with you last weekend is probably where I caught enough bilingualism to pass my test. Thanks.

  17. Yayy! Well done, and welcome back to the land of the living. So, do you want to learn Mandarin Chinese now? Cos I know soemone who may be able to help you there!

  18. So good to see you again…I saw your comment on Finola’s blog earlier today and I *may* have squealed out loud. I’ve missed you!

    So sorry to hear about the move, though. I know it’s right for you, but have you thought about ME??? Seriously, lady. Priorities.

  19. Loth – Ya, what’s up with the Chinese?? And no thanks. A guy in another class was just finishing up 12 months on French training and was on his way to 2 years of Mandarin Chinese — but he worked for Foreign Affairs. He also looked like he was about to snap.

    Dave – I’ll do my best. Good luck with your move too!! Gotta keep moving!!

    Lynn – I know. I’m all about me. If you let me know when BOLO is, I will try to coincide a visit to Ottawa with it. How’s that?

  20. Congrats!

    Though I’m confused…all that time and effort spent learning French..and then you’re relocating to Toronto…where French is almost non-existent.

    Good use of our taxpayers dollars, huh? (But then again, it’s the government. So why does this not surprise me?) 🙂

    Anyway…good to see ya back. Blogoland has gotten quite boring since you left. I’m looking forward to seeing your posts.

  21. congrats on finishing. Looks like we’ll both be moving to Toronto at the end of June. I arrive on the 23rd.

  22. Yay you’re back! I read your post with an ever sinking heart for two reasons:
    1) I start a 6 month language training stint at the beginning of September and suspect my fear that I’m ADD will be proven correct;
    2) You’re moving! You’ll keep writing though, right?
    So great that you were able to transfer and be near XUP Jr, that’s good stuff.

  23. Welcome back, and congratulations! We’ll have to try to get a lunchtime perambulation in before you move. If it ever stops raining.

  24. Salut, glad to see you survived the Canadian version of “Survivor”. Missed you a lot! 🙂

  25. Congratulations! I’ve thought of you many times and about how tough that must have been. It reminds me of the movie Le Femme Nikita. Tonight I accidentally recorded the Spanish version of “Game of Thrones” and my husband was laughing at me and started it and stopped it after just a minute or so and I said, “Wait, I almost think I know what he asked.” I took three years of Spanish in high school and “almost knew what he asked.” How sad is that? I’m looking forward to seeing the show tomorrow night to find out if he asked, “Does this man look familiar to you?” (I bet you are saying “Does this man look familiar to you?” in your head in French right now.)
    Welcome back to Bloggerville. I look forward to hearing all about your move. And your new craving for crepes and quiche.

  26. Boy, can you tell that you have been missed? I am just a day late in reading this post and already there are some thirty comments ahead of me. Welcome back and congrats on being a French speaker. Salut!

  27. woohoo! congrats on the levels. that is a huge accomplishment. i hope you celebrated accordingly.

    very sad to hear about the move. ottawa needs all of the cool people it can get. but hopefully you will not disappear from the blogosphere.

  28. Friar – Merci. Although Toronto is less Francophone than the NCA, it’s all still federal government. There wasn’t all that much requirement for me to use French in my job here either. I think it’s all about statistics – so the department and/or public service can say, “80% of our employees are bilingual”. It keeps Quebec happy and that, aftervall, is what is important.

    Jazz – Oui! Come visit and I’ll parler your ears off.

    Sean – Well diggity. You’ll be there a day ahead of me.

    Meanie – Well, 6 months is less than 7 ½. Do you know which school you’re going to yet? There are good ones and not very good ones. If you get to choose, pick La Cite. A good teacher and a good class makes things tolerable. My other advice is to make time every single day for a de-stresser (preferably a physical activity, not alcohol). Take a couple of weeks vacation before you start because you won’t be able to take any for 6 months. Get an electronic dictionary. Get some help around the house and with the kids because you won’t have the energy or the brainspace to deal with anything too challenging at the end of the day. And remember – thousands have gone through this before you and survived. They churn them through those language schools like a 19th century assembly line. And there really are some good times. You end up getting really close with the people with whom you are confined for those 6 months and everyone at the school tries (bless their little hearts) to make it as pleasant as possible. Bonne chance!

    Susan – Yes, let’s! One of your co-workers was in my class…you might not even know him, but he works in the same building. I hope it stops raining before the rapture.

    Maurice – Merci. I feel like a survivor.

    Geewits – I’m going to try and practice as much as possible so I don’t lose what I’ve learned. I might have to travel to France a lot. It’s a sacrifice, but I’m willing to make it. I didn’t acquire much of a craving for crepes and quiche, but I do constantly have a hankering for vin and frommage.

    LGS – Thank you. I’m amazed at all the people who didn’t remove me from their reader. Now I’ll have to try and remember how to write in English.

  29. Smothermother – Thanks. I could just keep pretending I live in Ottawa on my blog??

    Linsey – I think I talked to you more during the last 7 1/2 months than I did in all the time since I knew you before. All those late night VIA rail conversations….ah me…those were the days.

  30. I think you’re right! 🙂 But I have missed your blogging…you always have something fun or interesting to say here.

  31. Hee hee…had to laugh at Maurice’s comment that this is the Canadian Survivor. Sounds just like it!

    BOLO is on Thursday, July 7, at The Prescott. We’d love to see you there!

  32. The confinement aspect of French classes do make them very not fun. (My last class was in a basement and my teacher was a sleaze. Ech!)

    We’ll miss you! Will the Ottawa Blogger Brunches still be on?

  33. Linsey – Aw shucks…so do you, darlin’, so do you.

    Lynn – Oh. July 7th might not work since I start my new job on July 4th and they probably wouldn’t want me to take days off right away. Maybe next year.

    Pauline – I don’t know what will happen to the brunches. No one else seems to want to organize them. You’ll have to nominate someone to do that I guess. The mailing list is pretty old now and would need to be redone in any case. Most people have an email address on their blogs, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to round up people.

  34. Félicitations! Ca fait plaisir de pouvoir te lire de nouveau and I look forward to you parler our ears off 🙂

  35. Wow, great to see you back! And big congrats on finishing up your French studies. What a relief that must be. Of course, if you’re planning for a move, maybe you don’t have the relaxation time yet.