An petit peu. A little bit. But it's a lot more than we could speak about three weeks ago! That's when we entered the French speaking area of Canada, and we've been immersed in a foreign langauge ever since.
It's been a long time since Rich and I studied French – high school for me, college for him. And we've only used it a few times on trips to France. But it's amazing what the brain really does retain. We've both been doing our best to use our French, rather than relying on others to speak English. And in some areas, it was absolutely a necessity. Many menus had English translations on them, but not all. And more than once we got tangled up in ordering our food, and had a surprise or two.
The longer we've been here, the more I've gotten used to it. Bonjour comes out of my mouth automatically these days, rather than Hello. While cycling along, I find myself composing phrases in French for things I want to say. Or I replay conversations in my head, reconstructing them in French as I should have said them. That was particularly true after staying with our French-speaking friends in Quebec. I have to say that I'm quite enjoying the experience, and my confidence is growing along with my vocabulary each day.
Rich is quite comfortable with his French, but he's ready to revert to English. It won't be long now, as tomorrow we will cross the border back into New Hampshire. They are not likely to speak French over there.
We didn't have too much call for using our French today, as we mostly cycled through quiet countryside, with few towns. It was a brilliantly sunny day, but with a bit of a fall chill to the wind. We continued along the Chaudière River for about half the day, but the flat farmland gave way to rolling hills and forest. Once we moved away from the river, the hills became higher, longer and more frequent. We certainly got a workout today! Judging by the mountains that now surround us, we will have a lot more hill climbing to do for a while.
We are now within 4 miles of the border of Maine. We plan to cross further west, so perhaps early afternoon tomorrow we will return to the US. Then we can parl Englais encore. But I'll miss speaking French.