mercredi, avril 07, 2010

A French Liaison

When I was a not-so-little girl, among my favorite reads, Agatha Christie remained supreme. This was long before I discovered Dune and just a couple of years before I was introduced to Wuthering Heights. My larger than life hero then was Hercule Poirot. The famous Belgian extraordinaire was extremely clever and devious. Most of all, his little explosive French when the ordinary English fails to deliver was a delightful discovery for me. I would faithfully copy all the French words I could find and list them alphabetically. There was of course no internet in those early days and I did not have a French dictionary - so I spent many marvellous hours trying to figure out the meaning of the mysterious phrases.

Ottawa, Canada was the perfect place for me to pick up this long forgotten interest. Quirky and lovable French Professor Vincent Basseville's classes at Carleton U were hilarious and most of all - it was a miniature global village - there were Malaysians, Singaporeans, Spanish, Vietnamese, German, Trinidans and of course Canadian students in the class. Yes we were introduced to all the seven X three different tenses, genders and accents this way and that. That was excrutiating.

But it certainly added value to my visits to the exhilarating Montreal and beautiful Quebec City later on.
In 1990, I stumbled upon L'alliance Francaise Kuala Lumpur and met another wonderful French teacher Michele Tu. Not only did I continue my french classes, I performed a variety of cultural performances at af that year. The rambling bungalow in the midst of a natural garden on lorong gurney was a charming hideaway...

After 20 years, I make my way back to af. Iman and Inas, my spritely intelligent daughters are taking lessons as well as hubby, Rudi. The little French cafe is a delight and has introduced me to Azizah who makes the most delightful French toast and salads. There is a comprehensive library today and a TV tucked in the corner screening TV MUNDO. Here, we all meet and chat and have lunch every Saturday afternoon before the girls head for their music lessons. An idyllic petit les vacances.

We are planning for the ultimate holiday in France - It might take us another five years or so to save for this. Meanwhile, we sing songs like Caresse Sur L'ocean - Ilena does the soprano so well, Ikesha sings Dans pays espagne and dance to Loin de froid des decembre and Irani sings Alouette to YouTube and we all fall in love with 'Pierre Morhange'.

It's a beautiful dream...and an even more beautiful life.

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