Posted tagged ‘conversation’

New Year’s resolution #6 (or was it #7 or #10?): Join a French conversation group

January 28, 2011

A photo from my first time in France (on a beach in Nice in 2000)

Prior to moving to Boston two and a half years ago, I pretty much spoke French every week. Whether I was conversing with a French friend over the webcam, speaking French with some fellow francophiles where I was living, or thinking out loud in French, the French language was clearly an important part of my life.

Well, since I arrived here I’ve been really bad at keeping up with the language. I initially joined a French conversation Meetup group, but I wasn’t a fan of the setting. I found that Tommy Doyle’s Irish pub in Cambridge’s Harvard Square was too loud and crowded of a backdrop. So after two sessions I stopped attending the group. I began working as a reporter, and found my evenings taken up with public meetings and article assignments.

When I stopped working as a reporter, I thought I might be able to get involved with another conversation group. But I ended up taking on a part-time restaurant job and signing up for an evening class, eliminating my ability to attend the groups I knew of. Well, my schedule is now more normal, and I see there’s a group that meets one Sunday per month at 5 p.m., a good day and time for me.

The group gathers at The Asgard Irish pub in Cambridge’s Central Square. Because they meet during the day, I’m hoping the clientele isn’t too rowdy. I’m trying out the group this Sunday, so I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck (I’ll surely need it with my out-of-practice French)!

Bruegger’s discussion #985739

December 31, 2010

Yesterday morning I was in Bruegger’s. I couldn’t help but listen to the conversation two girls were having. I call them girls, but they probably were in their early 30s. Their discussion went something like this:

Girl 1: “My company is really into tracking metrics.”

Girl 2: “Oh my gosh, so is mine! What metrics do you track?”

Girl 1: “Well our number one metric is usage. But usage can be soooo hard to track! I mean, just because a customer has one of our tools running on his computer doesn’t mean he’s actually using it!”

Girl 2: “Totally. I totally see what you mean. We haven’t really come across that problem yet, but I hear you.”

Girl 1: “And have I told you yet about my thoughts on developers? I mean, we have to work with them, but it’s soooo difficult. I mean, it’s such a struggle, finding that perfect balance between pushing them to give you information and giving them their space. You don’t want to annoy them too much.”

Girl 2: “Wow, I really agree with that assessment.”

Girl 1: “And it can be so hard to get customer feedback. I try, and nothing happens. Our response rates are so low.”

Girl 2: “Same here!”

Girl 1: “And whenever we release a new product, we only call it the beta version for two months. We used to call it the beta version for longer, but we’d get so many calls from confused customers. They wouldn’t understand what beta meant.”

Girl 2: “Oh, we haven’t run into that problem yet. But we just might one day!”

The conversation continued with the one girl bringing up supposed work issues, and the other girl interjecting supportive statements. I found this dynamic amusing. Plus, I thought it was funny these girls were so loudly and passionately discussing the intricacies of their work lives when everyone else was stuffing bagels into their mouths, reading the newspaper, or conversing quietly.