August Newsletter

Dear Alliance Française Member,

August is here, thankfully so. This month has great potential for some more lazy days, in addition to interesting and even bizarre holidays. Celebrating National Ice Cream Sandwich Day (Aug 2nd), and Watermelon Day (Aug. 3rd) should be a breeze, and we can tackle National Smile Week (Aug. 5-11) with the confidence of any other face mask wearer out there. We'll happily skip World Mosquito Day (Aug.20) however, since we fail to discern what exactly there is to celebrate, and wonder why anyone wishing to honor the arthropod would limit party time to 1 day when they have the entire summer to jubilate. August 18, on the other hand, is National Black Cat Appreciation Day, and that, my friends, feels like cheering time well spent. The beautiful creatures need a little positive PR as their reputation as an omen of bad luck is, quite frankly, unearned, and they need all the love they can get before Halloween season rolls in. Cat lovers will be glad to know that the Alliance will do its part that day, and add yet another cat picture to its website! Here is what else to cheer about this month:

Whether you're starting from scratch or just need a refresher, check out our Summer Group Classes here. The August program is 5-weeks long and starts this week for some classes, and next week for others. Current students can re-enroll by clicking on Online Payment in the dropdown menu under the Class tab. Or go to the link directly here. The Conversation Class is back to meeting on Zoom every Wednesday, 6:30 to 8pm. You can join that class anytime for 6 consecutive weeks. In this month's Specialty Class, we'll look at Medieval Castles of France. Unlike Renaissance chateaux built for aesthetics and pleasure, medieval castles were designed for war; they were massive, surrounded by fortifications and often perched on hilltops. In this class, you'll dive into the history of the most famous medieval fortresses scattered around the various regions that comprise France today. Taught in French. Dates, times, and sign up information here. EVENTS Zoom Café Monday 4 August, 10:30-11:30am. Join our monthly e-Café for some chit-chat in French. All levels welcome! This month, we're introducing a new rule: if you don't feel comfortable speaking and would like to join as an observer, just turn your microphone off. No questions asked, especially in ever so fast French. You'll be able to practice your listening skills incognito. Well, almost. Open to all. Sign up here to receive the Zoom link. Apéro Antivirus Friday 7 and 21 August, 5-6pm. Welcome to our Happy Hour in French! Pretty close in concept to the Zoom Café except for the time of the day. And the type of drink, presumably. Although no one will come to your house and check what's in your mug. You could have coffee for happy hour and bourbon as your morning drink. We're open minded. Open to all. Sign up here to receive a Zoom invitation. Apéro National Tuesday 11 August, 5:15pm, or Wednesday 12, 8:15pm. Hosted by the AF Federation, this monthly conversation group connects French learners from all AF chapters across the US. Attendees are assigned to breakout rooms of 5 people and change room every 14 minutes. In this way, you get to meet different participants from all over the country. In French. For members only. Sign up and information here.

Hidden Secrets of Paris Saturday 22 August, 2-3pm. “Paris is in truth an ocean that no line can plumb,” novelist Honoré de Balzac once said. If you thought Paris' secrets were all out, then think again. Oliver Gee, host of the popular podcast The Earful Tower, will share with us his selection of the most intriguing secrets about the City of Lights. Zoom presentation. In English with a smattering of French. For members only. Sign up and information here. Lost in Translation Do you wonder why your French-speaking friends are having the cockroach? Is it because someone put a rabbit on them, or broke their feet? If you're scratching your head right now, our new series on French idioms is for you! Just when you think you got the hang of the language, idioms rear their crazy little heads and gang up on you, even though you understand ALL the words. As idioms would have it, many range in absurdity from mildly chuckle-worthy to off-the-charts weird. You don't want to miss out on the fun. In English and French. Starting August 5th, delivered directly to your mailbox. While on the topic of idioms, did you ever wonder why August is often referred to as the month of the dog days of summer? Why exactly do we blame our canine friends for the heat? Pet owners will be relieved to know we researched the question: the phrase comes from the star Sirius, also known as the dog star, which rose at the same time as sunrise during the month of August in ancient Roman times. Phew! Now that we've cleared that out, let's release our pooches from the doghouse and enjoy sunrise, constellations, watermelons, entire weeks of smiles and black cats. Mosquitoes? No, thanks. Happy August to all! The Alliance Team