Saturday, February 19, 2022

A Month in the Country

The vocabulary section of lesson 10 in Unit 1 is huge, but every single word is one I will use a lot. All the words are about feelings and character. It was wonderful to arrive at this lesson after having to learn signs for a lot of professions and tasks I never talk about. Also, I have a date with my friend, Cathy, to sign together. She is a rank beginner like me, and I think it’ll be fun to muddle through together, and not totally intimidating like the LA group was. And finally…my new iPad is due to arrive next week. It will enable me to study my program in the comfort of my living room and, come Spring, outside on the deck. 

I’m absolutely amazed that I am still at this and still loving learning to sign. I can’t quite believe it. I wish I’d taken to my learning like this when I was at university! I hope this enthusiasm persists because if it does, I should be doing quite well by year’s end. Last night, I wanted to study when I took a break from the movie, but I went back to watch it because I’d studied all day. But the passion is real.

I’m speaking well again. It’s wonderful with my fellow dog walkers to be almost fluent. I know that in the city I’ll still be mute, but I don’t care anymore about anything. I can get by in any situation with a pen and paper and/or gestures. And in the future, I expect to be able to sign and speak with people out there in the world. 

During our second walk of the day something made me say something aloud in French, and so I tried using my Rand voice and it was back too. I appear to be back to my pre-December capacity to speak. I’m truly amazed. I may be in for a great Summer!  


Interesting! I chose to watch A Month in the Country on Kanopy, largely because it was British, starred Colin Firth, Kenneth Branagh and Natasha Redgrave, and was about restoring a painting. And guess what? Colin Firth, the protagonist, is a former soldier suffering with PTSD, and his symptoms are nightmares, stammering and having twitches. His condition certainly drew me into the movie and the story quickly.

I liked the movie a lot. It was British, so I knew it would be good. And Colin Firth must have been barely over 20 when he made it, and men without wrinkles are so, so handsome, aren’t they?! And it was rife with anti-war sentiment. 

Since I moved to France, I’ve had a different relationship with abhorrent war. I don’t think about fighting or battles, I only think of so many young men gone. It’s like the pied piper, the way fat old white men whistle a patriotic tune, and the young men are taken away. And for every man dead, there are many who do the suffering—the mothers, fathers, siblings and lovers of so many men.

It was made in 1987. The script read like a stage play; there’s no action, no sex, no fighting. It’s all words and I loved every second of it.

I feel so different. I’m relieved my speech has improved, and I know and will know forever, that there are good times and hard times with FND, just as with so many diseases and disorders. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so comfortable with my condition, so optimistic and happy as I now do. Lucky me. And next time, I relapse, I know that I’ll get better. When things tanked in December, I really had a fatal outlook.


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