Blitzboks star WERNER KOK is having a short-term stint with Toulouse in France. He explains how wife Zanyika keeps herself busy and his efforts to learn the language.
It’s relatively easy for a rugby player to be abroad because you have training, gym and matches to keep you occupied, and you meet people through the game.
It’s often tougher for a player’s partner, especially if they’re not working and don’t have any friends with whom to do things.
Fortunately, Zanyika has already made friends with some of the foreign players’ partners and is a great tourist, so she doesn’t mind walking into town and doing things on her own.
She’s probably seen all the churches and museums here already and is happy to go sit in the park, watch the people and then have lunch somewhere.
We’ve also visited quite a few places together, including Carcassonne (see video below), a fortified city with a population of about 50 000. Its citadel is a medieval fortress.
Like me, Zanyika is loving it here and doesn’t want to go home!
I’m trying to learn some French and have a few classes every week. It’s more focused on being able to communicate on the field and at training, but I can order a few things at a restaurant if I really have to.
It is tough to learn the language and the French speak really quickly. But everyone in Toulouse is so friendly and willing to help even if they can’t speak English.
The French culture is different to ours. They eat a lot of bread here – lots of carbs! – and there’s always a baguette on the table, but we’re enjoying the food and it’s a good place to be.