Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Was it worth it?

I got a job offer yesterday that I would never have gotten had I not spent (wasted?) three years of my life with La Moustache, my Parisian ex-boyfriend who ran off with a Land Cruiser and is now somewhere between Djibouti and Yemen with his new "girlfriend". It's job is as a building substitute/maternity leave replacement in a Boston-area elementary French immersion program.

During my interview, the head of the program seemed genuinely puzzled about my language ability. "You never took any college-level French courses, yet your French is better than French majors who lived in France!" she said, almost as though she were complaining. "How is that possible?"

I didn't mention Moustache. Instead, I focused on the French classes I took in high school, the time I spent in France with my relatives there, my four years living in Montreal, the private French lessons my mom had me take as a kid... all true, but at the end of all that, I could barely put together a sentence in French. I'm pretty sure my high school French teacher would be shocked to find out that I got this job. The true secret to learning a language is to get a boyfriend (or girlfriend) who speaks it. Then have their parents who don't speak any English come for extended visits. And then there was that time when I went on vacation and finished all my books and ended up reading Moustache's copy of "I Am Charlotte Simmons" by Tom Wolfe in French... I'm sure that helped, too.

I've often considered the tradeoffs in life. What would have happened if, when my friend Miami Nice emailed me almost four years ago to ask if I wanted to go to a party and meet cute boys, I told her I was busy? Would I have gone to a different party and met another great boyfriend who wouldn't have left me for a Land Cruiser, not worked at the nightmare school I worked at last year, and still be living in New York? Of course, it's like Sliding Doors -- the alternative could be even worse. Maybe my hypothetical amazing boyfriend would have given me a horrible disease. Maybe we would have gotten in a car crash and I'd be horribly disfigured and have to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. Maybe I would have ended up working in an even worse school... oh wait, except the school I was at is the worst school in the ENTIRE WORLD.

In the end, I guess all you can do is appreciate what you got out of it, however little that may be. I'm glad I speak French. I'm glad I had two and a half years with my sweet little lovebird. I like the car Moustache and I bought together that he gave me his half of when he left. I like the tortilla press we bought together in Mexico that I use to make delicious homemade tortillas. It's not much, but it's not nothing, either.

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