What an enormous pleasure it was to return to Europe for my long-awaited, Covid-postponed séjour d’immersion chez Raymonde in Switzerland. Despite my anxieties about Swiss entry requirements in effect in January 2022, it was quite easy to negotiate the Swiss government site and obtain information regarding entry documents and the Swiss Covid certificate (required for Americans even if fully vaccinated). Here is a link if you are interested (and if there are still Covid requirements in place): www.eda.admin.ch . Choose English from the drop-down list.
Although this was not my first introduction to French Today, it was my first immersion with Raymonde, who had been highly recommended by Camille. My two weeks here have been absolutely wonderful and have exceeded my expectations. Although the weather has not always been magnifique (it was winter, après tout), there were many gorgeous days. We took daily walks around GinGins, the village where Raymonde lives, had an excursion to La Givrine for snow shoeing, enjoyed a perfect day of exploring in Lausanne, took a bike trip to Divonne, France for a couscous lunch, and made trips further afield to the impossibly beautiful towns of Monteux et Vevey. It seemed as if at every turn there was yet another awe-inspiring vista as Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) and the Alps form a most dramatic backdrop for this region avec les vues à couper le souffle.
Raymonde is an excellent and intuitive teacher. She quickly assessed my weaknesses and we agreed that she would continually correct my verbal mistakes, as I have many ingrained bad habits. Eager to advance my conversational skills, I found her willingness to patiently work with me in this manner invaluable. She also challenged my oral comprehension with recordings and television programs, followed by discussions where I was able to respond to questions and summarize what I had heard. At her urging I read a novel (La Soupe à La Grenade), which I then described to her. Every day was filled with a variety of activities, and I especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet Raymonde’s friends and her 3 charming adult sons. We cooked together most days, which is an excellent way to learn some new vocabulary. Bref, the two weeks flew past and I feel that Raymonde presented me with a great mix of techniques and challenges. I’m already planning a return visit in the fall when we can bike and hike. Mille mercis Raymonde!