The Good and the Bad of being fluent in a language came to me this morning after a rough evening at an English book club. Living in a country where I only speak a “functional French” and that is still limited to mostly face to face conversations versus the telephone, I’ve actually been secluded from having to deal with conflict, anger, other people’s “pain body” as Eckhart Tolle calls it or ordinary frustrations. I smile on greeting, say “Bonjour,” and at times enter into a conversation about scheduling a play date, a pickup or asking a question. My comfort level with deep, fluent conversations in French is still limited to my hour with my French teacher who tolerates anything and talks with me about everything, a five minute conversation here or there with a patient person I’ve gotten to know or with friends and neighbors when Jean is there to help fill in the gaps later of what I missed. As a result I never realized how protective being only “functionally French” is. I don’t have the capacity, the language, the speed of speech, or the tenacity to engage in conflict in French. As a result I am quite a peace in the language!
Maybe this is my answer to a more peaceful existence while living here!