Tacoma French Club: La Débutante!

Saturday morning, I attended my first meeting with the Tacoma French Club at Mandolin Café. I majored in French at college, but even after 8 years of study, 6 months actually in France, and a post-graduation stint as a tutor… well, it’s been about 4 years since I really spoke French. “Rusty” doesn’t begin to describe it.

The ole’ nerves were pretty busy on Friday afternoon, making a quiet but insistent fuss about joining an actual club. “It sounds so official, doesn’t it? And besides,” they jittered, “I won’t know anyone, I won’t understand anything, I won’t remember how to say anything…”

Fortunately, come Saturday, my love for the language and a strong cocktail of curiosity and determination (with God as my witness, I will speak French again!) outweighed the nervous-nerves. So, off I went.

It turns out that I do know one of the organizers, a former classmate from school. Just seeing her there was incredibly reassuring to me and my nerves. “Even if I can’t talk to anyone else,” we thought… but that turned out to be a moot point. I walked in, and before my name tag was stuck to my coat, three very nice people were introducing themselves, showing me where to sit, and asking how I heard about the group.

I mostly spoke with some beginners who don’t speak any or much French at all… A touch cowardly, perhaps, but a good way for me to start out. It gave me and my nerves ample time to think in between sentences—and really think so that I wouldn’t be blurting out wrong things for someone who might sop it up, mistaking me for any kind of expert. By the time some more fluent folks approached, I was out of the panic realm, feeling much more confident.

Me, my nerves, and a new friend, at the farthest tall table, in the farthest corner...

French Club at the Mandolin Cafe: Me, my nerves, and a new friend, at the farthest tall table, in the farthest corner...

A few hours and a delicious tomato quiche later, I realized what a nice time I was having. The whole morning was wonderful motivation to get studying again. Good thing I have 3 full bookshelves of French grammar, dictionaries, thesauruses, common phrases, novels, and poetry…

I’ll definitely be back next month, for the morning conversation at NPCC and for movie night: “Le Classe” at The Grand. And I think I’ll give my nerves the night off. They could use the break.


3 thoughts on “Tacoma French Club: La Débutante!

  1. I always wanted to learn French — such a romantic and “easy on the ears” language! I took Japanese instead, and while very useful in the business world and beautiful in its own way, I would rather speak French. 🙂

    Thanks for your comments on my blog! We will be in Hawaii May 11-21 so we are going to miss you by a frickin WEEK!! Bummer! 😦 What island are you going to?

  2. Bonjour Emilie.

    I thought you might like to know about http://www.francophilia.com, the social network for francophiles. One member recently created a group for Omaha francophiles, but he’s the only member from that city right now!

    Hope you’ll stop by. You can also follow us on Twitter for daily French culture bites and francophile treats! @francophilia

    Merci et à bientôt.

    Pamela Poole (LaGoulue)

    • Merci bien, Pamela!

      I will certainly check out the website and sign up for the Twitter feed…. sounds right up my alley!
      Thank you for the heads up!

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