It All Started with Paris
“Make one day Day One.” I saw this phrase yesterday on an advertisement. What a great phrase. Reminds me of how this whole crazy idea of mine started; the idea of learning a language and traveling to the country where people speak that language. Make your one day Day One. Paris was always a one-day-I-would-love-to-go dream. Suddenly I was forty. My daughter, Claudia, was on the verge of high school and our one days together seemed to be numbered. I had never even been to Europe.
My infatuation with Paris and French began in the ballet classes of my childhood. French is the language of ballet. I chose French for my second language in middle school. Madame Champion taught it ineffectually by having us conjugate verbs and memorize words for spelling tests. She spent most of her time marching up and down the aisle of the classroom monitoring my conduct and calling home to complain of my impertinent mouth. I remember telling a boy that his mother wore combat boots. I remember that remark leading to a call home. What I do not remember is speaking French. Claudia, on the other hand, attended Notre Dame des Victoires where she started learning French in kindergarten. She learned poems and songs, However, by seventh grade, if anyone spoke to her in French, she turned red and grew mute. She had all of her language locked in her head. She lacked the confidence to engage in conversation.
One day, our book group read a very dreary book about a women who was diagnosed with brain cancer. Our discussion of the book centered on the thought of what if we each had only one year to live. Would we do anything differently. If we would do things differently, why weren’t we living that way now. What would we change to make the year really count. Suddenly, all of those one days seemed urgent. Why was I delaying my dreams to one day? I decided Paris was going to happen. I was going to learn French so I could help Claudia become more confident in her French. One day became Day One of Project April in Paris.