getting back to business

I haven’t had much to say here for awhile, because until a couple of weeks ago, I had all but abandoned my various language pursuits. My French has been withering on the vine for two years, since I left the full-time job that had me both speaking French frequently with West African colleagues and taking weeks-long trips to francophone countries every few months. My Hebrew reached its peak in Israel last year, only to fall off a steep cliff when I abandoned my practice of it promptly upon my return to the States. As for Spanish, I’ve pretty much spoken twenty minutes of it in the past half-decade. I spent a few days in Lima for work last year and attempted to communicate in Spanish at one point and one point only. It became quickly apparent that the language had curled up and hidden away somewhere in my brain. (At least that’s my belief about what happens to language skills upon disuse; I never think languages are lost, just burrowed far from consciousness.)

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what luck!


In the more than two years that I’ve been going to French conversation Meetups, I have met people from virtually every francophone country – except Senegal, the one in which I’m most interested. Last night, less than one week after setting my tentative departure date for Dakar (February 15) and beginning to make concrete plans, I met two guys from… Dakar. They live in New York at the moment, but one of them, Michel, will be heading back soon. I told him he will be my first friend there, and I hope I’m right, because living in place where you don’t know a soul is pretty challenging.

He also works at a really great Senegalese restaurant in Harlem, so I now have a plan for my first lunch as a lady of leisure in January.

Ask, and – sometimes, when it feels like it – the universe answers.

[Photo: Tomo Tapio K]