- Chris, B.S. in Math and Computer Science, 1985
I grew up in a blue collar home in the NW suburbs of Chicago. I started with French in H.S. mostly because my older brother studied it and the teacher was pretty ;-)
I liked French and continued with intermediate French literature classes at UIC. I still have the novels I read in those classes! After UIC, I let French lapse for a few years. Then I got transferred to work with a NATO organization for the US Air Force in Germany. My landlords and neighbors spoke no English, the local girls I dated also spoke no English, so I learned German. The local triathlon club president did not speak English but many of the under 30 team members did and insisted on speaking English to me and having me answer them in German! For my USAF work I often had to interact and set up conferences in NATO countries and the language of choice was French.
After leaving the service I met a lot of internationals in Austin TX and discovered Sister Cities International. I started working with several of the groups including Koblenz, Germany (where I had done the German National Triathlon Championships) and Angers, France.
In 2019 I traveled to Montreal for a church mission trip to assist a new church in the French-speaking part of town. Today I am the Chairman of the Angers, France group and planning our 10th anniversary Austin Days festival in France on 23-28 Sept 2021! I still study and practice French every day and also plan to visit the French Caribbean this Summer.