At the park today I met a grandmother with her grandson and when I started chatting with her, she said she only spoke French (en franciais, bien sur!). I studied French for about 4 years in community college back in the late 80s and early 90s in addition to the two years required in high school. It was my dream to become fluent in another language, because in my opinion, that was the mark of a truly educated person. Trouble was, I never created an opportunity for myself to study abroad in an immersion program, and once my studies finished, I no longer practiced French.
Then I spend nearly 4 years in Thailand, and marry a Thai man and hear spoken Thai every day. Although Thai, in my opinion, is infinately more difficult to learn than one of the romance languages, I've been around it more intensely in recent years.
So I chatted with this grandmere francaise, and my brain kept getting French and Thai words mixed up, making it difficult to speak to her. It was amusing but frustrating and I tried to tell her what was going on. I'm glad I had an opportunity to speak French today, and even though I could not speak it very well, when she spoke to me, I understood 90% of what she said.