Hello. My name is Karena. I am an American living in France. I live in the departement of Mayenne and this blog is all about my experience in this rural area of France. Along the way, I hope to tell you about life in France, and perhaps teach you some French. If you’re a Frenchophile, a student of languages, or a student of life, then I hope this will be the beginning of a lovely relationship.
Jour 1 — 1er novembre 2008 La Toussaint
When I was back living in Baltimore and still going to church, the 1st of November was very important to me. But as I got away from religion, I focused, like I believe most of America does, on Halloween and not so much on All Saints’ day. That’s exactly what “La Toussaint” means. And although Halloween had managed to get a foothold in France, La Toussaint is still the more important of the holidays. It is a national holiday and religious celebration of the dead, thus it is a day where people don’t go to work,…normally. Instead, they go to cemeteries and visit loved ones who have passed. For some, perhaps mostly youngsters, it means vacation. My son has been attending the local day camp for the past week, instead of going to school. La Toussaint vacation began October 24th.
On Sunday, October 26th, the hour was changed back. Thus, we were able to get an extra hour’s sleep in. This is a good idea since vacation time allows the children and the parents to get used to the hour change. School starts back up on Thursday, November 6th and I hope the children will be delighted.
Here’s today’s Cultural Note. I like to listen to the radio here. I’ve always been an avid fan of music. So, one thing that I was surprised to learn was that about 50% of the music played on some radio stations here is American or English. There is a bit of Italian and Spanish music also that gets played on the radio stations. (These bits of information are in no way statistics. They are simply and uniquely my impressions.)
In any case, I am a strong believer in listening to and enjoying learning a language, so I hope that you will take a look at the next two videos. I picked these two songs out totally randomly. They are the first two French songs that came up on two video channels that I view online. You can listen to and view the songs on youtube.
The first song found was a rap by a female French artist named Kenza Farah. Her song is called “Au Coeur De la Rue” and it’s youtube website link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3kmDOb1wyo .
The second song found was a song by a male French artist named Bénabar. His song is called “Le Diner” and it’s youtube website link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpzTeeZYuTQ&feature=related .
If you’d like to have translations of these songs, please write it in your comments. I’ll translate to the best of my ability. Or, if you’d just like some basic explanations, I can do that too.
Here’s a News Note for today. If you’re looking for the news, you can find news in many places on the net. Here are some web addresses that I like to check out when I’m searching for current news:
1. www.tf1.fr — This website is the internet version for the regular television channel. You can find some video for the weather, the daily news or some paid programming that come directly from the television channel TF1. LCI.fr is an associated satellite channel and internet news station, but LCI only provides news programs or short news-based documentaries.
2. www.france24.com/fr/ — This is a news website that also has a satellite channel. This is a multiple language provider of news.
3. www.ouestfrance.fr — This is an daily online newspaper. A couple other daily online newspapers are: Le Monde and Le Figaro.
No matter what your reasons for learning French, if you are truly into it, you must immerse yourself in it. I know how difficult that can be if you are far from the tools that you need to make speaking and understanding well. Here are some tools that you can use to see more of France than what they put in those textbooks. In the meantime, practice speaking and listening. Practice, practice, practice. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We take our biggest steps when we make our mistakes.