How learning French made me appreciate the countryside. Win Win situation.


I am a city girl.

I grew up in the centre of Prague, and wanted to stay there. Trips to my parents’ country weekend cottage bored me. I was happy to sit indoors and read. They kept chasing me to go out. Get some fresh air. Do I mind a not so fresh air? Nope, not in the slightest. I never smoked, but smoky atmosphere of Prague coffee houses was just fine.

In the end, my dislike of the communist regime made me emigrate. I live in green England. The English love their countryside.

I would prefer not to be so close to nature. But I am not a millionaire, so I will never live in the centre of London, I am destined to stay in the leafy suburb.

When I say that where I live is “too rural”, people laugh. They think I am joking. I am not.  Yes, we have an underground station in my village, but it is still a village. I do not go for walks, unless I can talk to somebody. I get bored by nature.

I remember a friend I was skiing with telling me off when I started typing an email on my phone when we had a break. “Why are you not looking at Mont Blanc?” “I have already seen it.” I said.

But recently, I bought a French course to refresh my rusty command of the language. Audio. Michel Thomas. It is very good. So, thanks to Monsieur Thomas, I started going for walks, listening to him on my iPod.

And you know what? I am enjoying it, and the area round the Grand Union Canal is really beautiful.

Mind you, it is nature + entertainment and learning. I am not sure if I could cope with just a walk.