mercredi, octobre 06, 2004

CFILC Ecole de Langue

I have started my french lesson again. There are 3 Polands, 2 Japanese, 2 Indians, 2 Americans, 1 Thai, 2 Germans, 1 Columbian, 1 Cambonian and me, the Singaporean. It is kinda weird that usually when you are overseas, you tend to have more foreign friends than locals. Ok, these people are not my friends yet as it was only my second lesson.

But right now in Paris, my friends, people whom I hang out with during the weekends are few and limited. There's Anca and Irinel who are Romanians. We really hang out almost every weekend with them catching movie. There's June and Erwan and June is a fellow Singporean. That's about it.

2 months ago, Seb and I joined a group of church members for a hike. Almost everyone is a foreigner as I attend an English church. There was one french and he joined us because he wanted to improve his english. How courageous for a lone French.Of course, there was Seb who is a French too.

Why is it difficult to find locals as friends?
1. Over here, the French do not have many friends in their lives. It is not like the Asians culture. Once you know someone by name, the person is your friend. Over here, friends are usually people who had been to the same school as you for 5 years . For Seb, his 2 best friends are from his high school days. Another good friend is a brother of his friend from high school. Another friend is from his previous work place. That's about all the people he needed to keep in touch.

2. Sometimes, the culture can be such a big barrier. I do not always understand the humor of French. A humor in France is called a 'blague'. As the word sounds like 'black', the joke is often qualified as 'black humor' to me and usually it is laughing at someone/something rather than laughing with someone. My sense of humor for any 'ang-moh' is kid's stuff. This is just an example. If we already share different taste in jokes, it is rather difficult to find something in common like beliefs, values, thoughts and etc.

3. It is easier to relate to someone foreign in a foreign land. You have more or less the same anxiety. When I was studying in Australia, there were so many Asians in my estate that I do not have a chance to know any Australians. I feel ashamed but I managed to redeem myself*. In the University, the Australians do not mix with the foreigners either.

*When I was in US for 3 months and stuck in a 'ulu' part of Fairview Lake for 9 weeks, I got to know many friendly Americans. There was no Chinese in the camp community of few hundred people. After my stint in Fairview Lake Camp, I was invited to stay with Heather whom I got to know during my work at the camp. Till now, we are still exchanging emails on a regular basis.

So, the reason goes on and on as to why it is difficult to find local friends here. But that is not going to stop me. Seb always told me that where ever I go, I can make friends easily. I prefer to count everyone as my friend. But in times of trouble, I counted with my fingers and guess how many I realised I can turn to? Before you know mine, start counting yours. My result is not too far from yours.

3 commentaires:

S* a dit…

Helolo Soh Cool

I surfed here from Mike's site. Just to leave a small bonjour, I am in the same area as you - not quite the same kampong, but close enough, in Turin. Mail me if you want to talk to a fellow Singaporean!

Fei a dit…

i just wanna ask how is that school? cuz i m thinking about going there too.

sohcool a dit…

Hi Fei,
The school is good value for money as it is cheaper than Alliance Française and most small private language school.
If you are a beginner in french, I recommend it. What I do not like with these language schools is that they have a policy where you can sign up and join in any time. This sounds good for new comers. But it is disturbing for existing students. Some new comers had difficulty catching up with the missed lessons and the teacher had to explain previous lessons again. Of course there is an entrance test to gauge your french level.
Hope this info helps. Leave me your email address if you need more details.