No not the Trini jump-and-wave type but in the original meaning of ‘party’ and in this case a 9 year old’s birthday party. One of the kids on the compound has invited Kwame to hers and the invite is in French. M, one of the many tri-lingual (French-Arabic-English!) kids on the compound sidled up to me to help read it. When I translated it into English for Kwame, M was surprised and asked how could I do that, to which Kwame replied she has a degree in it.
This reminded me of the debate my Dad and I had when I was choosing subjects for CXC back in the ’80s and he suggested I take Spanish over French, given our proximity to South America ( with the exception of Brazil, Suriname, Guyane (French Guyana) and Guyana). I’d have liked to have done both languages but after a year of Mrs B in form 3, the thought was insupportable (unbearable in French). My justification for choosing French was to be able to converse when I got to Paris.
When I first touched French soil (Calais –day trip), I was too tongue-tied to speak but several years later, while studying the language at University, living in Nantes and then visiting Paris, I gained confidence though I still mangled the language. By the end of the year there, I was often mistaken for an Antillaise Francophone (French Caribbean – because of my accent) which led to a confusing (on their part) and funny (on mine) conversation of me being from the English-speaking Caribbean despite my French name.
I get limited opportunity to practice my French but it comes in handy for eavesdropping every so often and reading birthday invitations.
And on a tangential note – Joyeux Anniversaire Papa ! – Happy Birthday Daddy.
Do you have a skill you want to revive, but may be afraid to?