I've come to the conclusion that learning French is hard, perhaps harder than I realized. Or maybe it's not just French, maybe it's that learning a language as an adult is hard (and I'm a young adult at that!) While I've been trying to focus on the positive, to celebrate small victories and not look at the larger picture, I do sometimes get frustrated at my brain for being so slow to understand what's said to me, and for being even slower at forming sentences myself. With English, I'll speak a sentence at the same instant that I have a thought (and sometimes before)—it's nearly at the speed of light! With French, I have a thought, and then I have to think if I know how to say that in French, and if I do (unlikely) I have to recall all the different words to make it come together, and then think about the sentence structure, and by this point I'm accutely aware of how long the person I'm speaking with has been looking at me expectantly, and then I get nervous and so my mind goes totally blank, so usually I'll just say something, anything, that I know how to say, even if it wasn't what I wanted to say, even if it isn't even true. So, my French thoughts travel not so much the speed of light (unless the light got really, really cold), more like thoughts that were ambling along and then got stuck in some mud, and then got lost, and then just gave up altogether and went home.
Even when I do know what to say, I then get annoyed that my mouth won't wrap itself around the words properly. I, like many people, love the way French sounds, and it's so disheartening to have a mellifluous French sentence swirling around in my head, and then when it comes out of my mouth it sounds like a total caricature of itself. It's almost hurtful that my body refuses to do what I want—it feels like a betrayal.
But! It's also been fun! There's something really thrilling about communicating in another language. I can still be amazed that I can say take some words from a piece of paper, and say them aloud to a French person, and then they understand and something happens because of it (they understood that I want two crottins of goat cheese! Amazing!) It's like taking the trust fall and realizing that no one backed away and they weren't lying when they said I'd be caught.