Friday, January 28, 2011


This morning was a Friday like most other Fridays--except for the fact that instead of sleeping in, I woke my tush up at 7:30 (a whole hour later than my normal time!) to walk to the social security office in order to FINALLY get rid of this nagging task on my to-do list.

After sitting in a weird tile foyer complete with large, flashing red overhead heating lamps, and feeling much like I was a plant in a greenhouse, I was told I needed my birth certificate--something of which I was assured I did NOT need by my people, and by people I mean Francis B. and Beatrice C., the lovely individuals at the Inspection Academique de Val d'Oise, in charge of all assistant paperwork. I consequently scurried home and brought the original and a copy, and then was discharged and on my way.

On my way back home I stopped in at the Univers du Livre (the Universe of Books), one of the best bookstores ever, and picked up a practice manual for the DALF C1/C2, also known as the Diplome Approfondi de la Langue Francaise. What does that mean? Here we go: Advanced Diploma of the French Language. In other words, it's the silly little test I have to take very soon in order to prove to French universities that I'm competent enough in my second language to enroll as a student. Basically, in order to enter a masters program, I need to pass at least level C1. There are seven levels, the two highest being C1 and C2.

So I chucked out 20 euro on a prep manual and am sitting here working on it, and it's dawned on me that yes, I am mother-effing fluent in French.

I have to stop and pause and appreciate this moment, however trivial it may seem. I have to appreciate it because this is something I dreamed about nine years ago the very first day I ever set foot in a French class. No, in fact, I've dreamed about this for longer. I've dreamed about this since my parents read me the Madeleine series of books by Ludwig Bemelmans as bedtime stories when I was six. This has been a long, long coming dream of mine. I can hardly believe it's finally here, that I'm finally fluent.

And so it's rather surreal that days before I turn 23, I am sitting on the third floor of a beautiful house in a beautiful, ritzy suburb of Paris preparing for an exam that will hopefully allow me to study in Paris and stay here for another two years and speak all the beautiful fluent French I can and eat my heart out.

My thoughts can be summed up in five words: Good god, I'm fluent!!!!!!

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