"No, please stay with me." I asked my friend, just before the interview began.
"But I have to leave." he explained.
"I need you to translate for me." I pleaded.
"This is part of the process." he kindly explained as he left the room.
The interview began:
"Where are you from?" the man asked politely in French.
"I'm from Las Vegas, but I live in Paris right now." I explained in French...easy enough.
The interview continued as a simple conversation for the first 10 minutes. Then turned one sided when I understood his French questions, but could not find all the French words in my mind to put together using proper grammar and correct pronunciation. And even when I could find the words, my tongue did not cooperate in speech.
He continued the interview, slowly and politely finishing my sentences and easily forming sentences from my stuttering and incorrect pronunciations.
"You understand French, but you cannot speak it." He explained in French. "You must be able to have a conversation and not only listen. You will need to participate in the language." he continued. "There is a method and a process for learning French and you must go to school, speak, listen and write French if you are going to master the language. " He explain not speaking one word of English and I understood. I could only smile and say, "Yes, I understand." in French.
"I will go and get your friend." he concluded in French with a friendly smile as he left the room.
My first rejection in Paris happened today. Not one word was spoken in English, but I knew I was rejected. The same butterflies filled my stomach and the same welling up of tears were caused by the French words spoken. The same "I'll show him! I won't give up!" (in English) kick-ass attitude came from inside of me, stomped the butterflies and drained the well of tears. "I WILL LEARN TO SPEAK FRENCH...YOU JUST WATCH!!" my kick-ass attitude from within insisted.
As my friend returned, I shook my head. He sincerely apologized for the rejection and walked me to the metro.
My first stop off the metro was back to school for more hours of French lessons....starting Thursday.
Je dois améliorer mon français! I must improve my French!
Je vais améliorer mon français! I will improve my French!