The Tyranny of French Swimming Pools

I would like to begin by decrying the blatant, heinous, backwards, draconian regulation that is the French swimwear standard at public pools. APPARENTLY, due to hygiene concerns of dirt and etc being brought into pools, men must wear compression style, polyester/spandex blend, jammer swimsuits of Olympic swimmers in order to swim in municipal pools. This “Speedo or Go Home” dictatorship thus prevents me from going to the pool with my host family and friends. It’s utterly antithetical to the capitalistic principles of a successful business, not to mention nonsensical, as obviously, one’s level of cleanliness should not change based on their attire. As they say, when in Rome… go to the beach.


Me discovering that my swim shorts are non-compliant

Anyways, here we are three weeks in, this is the part when I break free (Shout out to my fellow Ariana Grande fans). In spite of my perceived struggles, I have officially moved up from my starting level of B1.1, to B1.3‼! This leaves me within striking distance of B2, at which point I’ll be able to further my education by taking any class while studying abroad next fall at Angers. Woot woot‼


Gotta pay your dues when you’re moving up in the world

Perhaps because this week covered food and culinary verbiage, or maybe because I have reached some level of acclimation to France, I felt much more at ease speaking to my classmates and family outside of class. I seem to have begun overcoming over my problem of circumlocution, as everyone seems to better understand what I am saying, and conversation is faster flowing. Still not 100%, but I can see clear progress.


Cheers from Brest as me and my fellow students explore the city.

And the lessons appear to have improved my reading as well, for I now can read the morning’s articles on my Le Figaro news app at a reasonable pace. The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step, but I’m on the way from news to novels to documents, all in due time.

One particular challenge remaining is the French ‘R’ sound in my pronunciation. As an Anglophone, as well as a heritage Korean speaker, the ‘R’ in such words as Parler and Merci among countless others, is difficult for me. I’d like to think the rest of my accented French isn’t so horrendous, but my professors are ever so quick to point out that particular mishap. Practice makes perfect, but personally I’m ok for now with giving myself away as American (which I am), because the default assumption is Chinese (which I am not).

That’s all for this week. Next week I’ll discuss something about the local community, likely the minority experience here in Brittany.

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