Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Great. Now I Gotta Get Married.

Right. So, this last Wednesday, I went to the Alliance Française de Bourgogne and took that wretched Test d'evaluation de Français (TEF) that I had been sweating profusely about it. I'm not sure if I had mentioned my worries about the test with you guys...

I wish I could say that I did well on it but I am not too confident with myself, frankly. The TEF's practice exam booklet with example was actually quite misleading and, as a consequence, I had grossly underestimated the simplicity of the test's questions.

But during the ACTUAL exam, the vocabulary was slightly more complex from what I had imagined:

I endured questions of varying calibers and complexities for two and a half hours. I listened to a tape that belittled my oral comprehension skills. I ticked off over 100 boxes on a cold, emotionless scantron, each empty box taunting me and pressuring me to continue in confusion and stupor. My grammar and lexical capabilities diminished with each exercise I had to interpret. Two and a half hours.

Two and a half hours later, already feeling mentally drained, I underwent another hour to write an essay in French. By then, it was too late. I could not muster the proper vocabulary to express my viewpoint of whether or not T.V. functions as a method for cultural enlightenment. I was much too tired at that point and it certainly did not help that I had not written in French for more than one and a half years, since I finished my B.A. at university.

It wasn't until time was up and I was on my way to walk back home when the delicious and glorious words wafted in and out of my imagination...la haie, la méprise, néanmoins, cependant, lorsque...

Why hadn't these words come to me DURING the exam when they were supposed to? It was far too late to go back to the Alliance Française and add those delectable gems to my poor excuse of an essay.

I could not believe myself. I halted my evening stroll. I fumed silently on the frigid sidewalk.

Then, in the silence of the night, I lifted my hands in defeat and cried out the one word that perfectly expressed my anguish:

I should have the actual results by next week, but, again, I remain less than expectant of having a "good" score.

Prior to that dreadful moment, as a way of helping me prep for the TEF, one of my colleagues offered to give me a personal French lesson that involved me reading an excerpt of Madame Bovary and interpreting what I had read. Afterwards, my colleague invited me to stay at her house to have dinner with her charming family.

In traditional French fashion, I participated in the pre-dinner apéro, complete with finger foods and a bottle of Pineau wine. The bottle made its way around each person until it finally reached me. I grasped my cold glass expectantly as I saw the golden liquid fall gracefully from the bottle. The last drop plopped poignantly. That is when my colleague announced excitedly:

This, of course, is a common joke the French often say to single people who have the luck of finishing a bottle of an alcoholic beverage. I don't believe in this saying because if it were true, France would be a country with a considerable penury of unmarried individuals. Also, if it were true that when I finished a bottle, then that means that I should have been married last year when I finished off a bottle of Champagne on Christmas Day. Not even Champagne can bring me this luck! As it is, I can't even find a boyfriend neither in real life nor online, so I sincerely doubt that I shall be calling myself Mrs. Barb the French Bean by December 31st.

Still, a girl can dream...

Besides, after my test, I went out a bought a bottle of Muscat de Rivesaltes. Considering the rate that I've been scarfing it down, I should finish it off by tomorrow, which would make it the third bottle of alcohol that I've ended. Where's my ring?

Barb the French Bean


  1. James once asked if I'd be okay with a ring from a box of Crackerjacks... and seemed surprised to learn that I'd rather have no ring at all. =_=

    So just assume from now on that "married by year's end" really just means "happy for the rest of the year." Better happily on your own than suffering for the wrong guy. :)

    (The above is a true story, by the way, though I leave out a little context. Basically, he was talking about whether I would still demand a ring if my fiance were unable to afford one, and I said no. But really, a Crackerjacks ring? Really?! XD)

  2. Also, I'm sure you did fine on the TEF. I never took the Japanese equivalent while I was over there because I had so little confidence in myself... only to learn upon coming back that I could have solidly passed it then but that there is no way now because my skills have degraded so much...

    Um. I'm sure you did fine. :) Tests are meant to be difficult, anyway. <3

  3. Zora: Thanks for your words of encouragement, ma chère. I just *never* leave a test feeling totally confident in how fared...again, I'll have the results by next week.

    And Crackerjacks rings are overrated anyway. He should have offered the cereal box prize instead! (And yeah: seriously, James?)

    You are right, though. It is better to be happy and alone than miserable due to a horrid relationship/breakup. I should just take advantage of my freedom and joy! :-)

    I miss you TONS, my dear! <3 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


  4. Wait a second... my now wife always used to give me the last part of the bottle. Oh my god! Was she trying to make it happen?!

  5. Heh. Looks like it, Stu! :-D

    Maybe there's hope for me after all!


  6. Oh, Barb! I wish I would have asked you how your test went when I saw you earlier! I was so busy thinking about my electric bill...egoist that I am. Don't worry -- like Zora said, tests are meant to be hard. Whatever happens, this too shall pass. Bisous!

  7. Emily: pas de soucis, ma chère! If I were in your shoes, I'd also be concerned about paying exorbitant prices for the winter heating. And I'm from Miami...the need for warmth consumes my every thought as I walk down the streets these days. ^.^

    I'll probably see you this Friday! :-D Happy Thanksgiving and Bisous!


Apparently, leaving comments on this blog is a hit-or-miss game of Russian roulette: you are either lucky and can comment away, or you are required to log in when the settings are CLEARLY set to allow trouble-free commenting (sorry 'bout that, folks). If anything, the Facebook page is always a viable option. :) -Barb