Little great moments in the Alps Haute
It is almost a commonplace to say that the greatest pleasures in life are in the little things, in the simple things. When we travel to a foreign country like France for a French immersion course, those little details become even more noticeable, because we enter a territory unknown to our senses. It is no longer just about learning, but living to learn for a time that will always seem too short.
Our teacher from Alpes de Haute Provence, knows well the importance of these moments. In this short narrative, she tells us about some of these experiences lived by her students during their French immersion stay in the small village of La Rochette.
“I am so happy!” he said from time to time while joining hands and smiling from ear to ear. “This is my own fairy tale!” she said while even photographing the food on the table.
An immersion stay implies sharing. It goes straight to our hearts when hearing a “Home Sweet Home” as they come back from an excursion, or even a “… our home… oops sorry, your home!” during a conversation.
An immersion stay implies our daily environment enjoyed by foreign eyes. On the slopes of a rocky spur, in a loop of the Var river, you can discover the medieval village of Entrevaux: “It doesn’t seem real! Wow it’s so… this is… this is precisely France!” At night, in the heights of the Saint-Raphaël pass, with the neck twisted out of the car window: “I love it! We do not have stars in New York!”
An immersion stay implies enjoying on a day-to-day basis. Spring water running from the mountains: “Here I drink water all day long! It’s very good. At home, water is not this good!” At the table, mouth full, eyes closed: “You’re ruining my life! Anything I will eat from now on will be less good!”
An immersion stay, it’s the history and culture of the country that enters the fibre. In our mountain hamlet, the stone-built houses date back to the 17th century: “I sleep in a house older than my country!”. The books’ pages become reality and Jean Giono’s work brings tears to the eyes.
Away from a cold dictionary list, the vocabulary comes to life and all its usefulness in conversations. That is how the toes and the nightclubs become bursts of laughter in the hills.
And forever, for us too, panisses become pancakes, strength becomes “fortitude” and fields of cut lavender become an army of porcupines.
In France there are many places like La Rochette where you can live your own fairy tale, taking back home more than just a breakthrough in your French learning. You will take with you the memories of all those experiences that, although they may seem simple where you live, take on a whole new meaning when shared with other people in a totally different place.