Part of our trip will include driving through northern France, like around the region of Nord Pas de Calais on the France/Belgium border. And, for someone that enjoys learning new languages, it's kind of embarrassing for me to admit how little knowledge of French I possess. Seems like one of those languages you might pick up from pop culture, gastronomy, and travel, but I can't even tell you how to conjugate the most basic verb to be.
To avoid assuming everyone in the world speaks English by speaking loudly and slowly with big gestures, I am going to brave a crash course in French. In this next month leading up to our trip, I'm going to immerse myself in French and hope that Spanish helps me out a little (I'm always impressed by how easily the French learn Spanish and vice versa!).
One of the new podcasts I downloaded to my iPod is called 'Coffee Break French'. Cheap (free) and cheerful! My goal is to learn basic grammar, basic nouns, verbs, and adjectives, learn how to ask for directions, and be able to order off a menu. And I'm going to work on a lovely French accent, too.