Excuse me, do you speak English? The first French phase we all have learned living in a country we don’t speak the language. This will not be enough, and we are all finding ways to cope and more importantly learn and embrace.
Jess is the deepest into Swiss culture, and has the need for French language daily. One example of improvising, it is complicated to bring a dog into Switzerland. Teddy has been registered at the police station but needs an entrance inspection at the vet. Jess called the vet but could not communicate as the person on the phone was only French speaking. Jess decided to show up at the vet with Teddy in tow to try and sort it out. Much better in person! Jess also attended his first parent offered french lesson at Sadie’s school where he proudly introduced himself “j’sei Jess”.
This week Sadie joined the Lausanne Angels competitive cheer team. All the girls are Swiss and speak French! When I picked her up I was struck by how different, but yet similar it was. Different of course is the fact it was all in French. But similar was more prevelant – kind young girls working as a team to develop a routine they were proud of. There was one particular girl that had “CHEER” across the back of her shorts who would gently guide Sadie to the right place to overcome the language barrier. At the end they sang Happy Birthday in French to a teammate and then asked Sadie to help them all sing it in English.
At my job, the business conversations are in English. Very good for my business knowledge but not for my French. I want to understand the Swiss culture so I got a recommended book called “Swiss Watching”. The book jacket says it all “1 country, 4 languages, 26 cantons & 7.5 million people (only 80 percent Swiss). There is nowhere else like it in Europe. Switzerland may be surrounded by land, but it is at the center of Europe. Welcome to the landlocked island”.
One of our immersion plans is just to get out there. Today we went to the international Hot Air balloon festival in Chateau d’Oex. A small village about an hour from our house. It was breathtaking! Dogs go everywhere in Switzerland, Teddy loved it (including meeting a cow).