Preparing for a Month in France


flash cards

Learning French

So, I think it is safe to say that there is no way I can master the beautiful language of French in the next 8 weeks.  However, what I can do is take some time to learn the most important basics of the language.  Things like “hello”, “goodbye”,  “please”, “thank you”, “how much does it cost” and “I would like a croissant”.    For myself, these 6 things should get me through most of my stay in France.
I have resorted to going old school and using flash cards.  Surprisingly, it is actually helping.  In the past week, I have been able to memorize counting from 1-10.  Am I pronouncing them all correctly?  Absolutely not.  However, from all the research I have done so far, it has said that if you at least “attempt” to speak the language, you are apt to get more help.  So, I may butcher one of the most beautiful languages in the world, but I will do it with grace and dignity (Oh, who am I kidding?  I’m sure I’ll be embarrassed as heck… but that is part of learning to live out side of my comfort zone I guess).

Research and Preparation

My trip is not for 8 weeks and 2 days (but who’s counting), yet I already feel completely behind in terms of preparation.  I normally have everything so much more under control.  When it comes to traveling, I am a fanatic on research, organization, pre-booking and pre-preparing.  I am NOT one for living by the seat of my pants.  For me, anxiety comes quickly when I am in a situation that has not been carefully thought through and organized full force.   Spontaneous?  That is not in my vocabulary.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do not find spontaneity a bad thing.  In fact, just the opposite.  I envy those that can just go with the flow and let life lead them in whatever direction it has in store.  My brain however does not like to play that way.  I do not do well with the unknown.  So anything that I can control ahead of time, helps to ease a lot of that anxiety.  My husband calls me a controlasorous. Very funny Don.

 Planning this trip however has been particular challenging.   This is my first international trip and to say I’m intimidated is a massive understatement.   The thought of just getting through customs and finding a taxi to take me to the hotel is overwhelming.  Then there is the language barriers to deal with for what should be simple tasks like checking into the hotel or figuring out the metro system.  I have to admit, I am not the bravest person.  Part of this adventure is to try and help me realize that I am capable of doing more then I believe I can.  Fingers crossed!

With all of that being said, being this is a business trip and I will be working a good portion of the time I am there, it is even more imperative that I keep focused on my planning and preparation.  Even 4 weeks in Paris isn’t a whole lot of time when you have to add work into the mix.  The next 8 weeks will be about making an itinerary, figuring out what to pack and trying to organize my thoughts to help me get through an 11 hour flight (I’m afraid of flying by the way… just to make things even more complicated).

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