What does the name Paris, said in a French accent, conjure in your mind? Let’s add to that initial sensation with more names of eating places, bistro, café, restaurant,brasserie or names of fast foods, tartes, crêpes, baguette or frites: names of streets and places, rue, arrondissement, porte, pont and parc,église and musée. My list could go on forever. The names of commonplace things sound far more romantic and exciting in a foreign language. There’s more resonance, frisson, and nuance in saying or thinking the words. The very naming of things in your second or third language takes you to that place, is an admittance into a new way of thinking, invoking the culture and history of a place. Foreign language gives you a different perspective on life.
There was no way we were prepared to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower with Mischa Belle. She appeared heartbroken as we explained our problem of vertigo. Then, out of the blue, we were approached by a lovely South American family, a couple with two teenage children. They had purchased too many tickets on the internet due to an error in the system. Would we like to buy a ticket for the next carriage which would leave in 20 minutes time? We established that they were not scammers and so negotiated a deal: Would they mind escorting 14-year-old Mischa to the top? We would purchase two tickets, but Mr T would exit after the fourth level. They were more than happy with the arrangement.
Mischa not only got to the top to take these photos of Paris from above, but learnt a great deal about Paris from the escorting couple, who had worked there for many years.
Mischa , who is now 17, has just finished her VCE finals in French. I am sure she plans to return. Well done Mischa.