I think it is wonderful to live where there is real work on bilingualism going on and regret I have not yet learned French. As a transplant from the United States, I didn't take French in the American schools I attended (I did take German...). Here in Canada, I have pushed my children to get their French improved.
I was proud that my late husband David became bilingual in his 50's. We all need to do this. I admire many francophone friends (and a few anglophones) who can just switch back and forth effortlessly.
The passion of francophones passion about language seems to me to be paralleled by their passion for good food in particular and for intense physical experiences in general. I think of French folk singers and musicians, who are so intense and alive, and especially of the francophone folk and contra dancers I know. They have a sense of their bodies and of how to move that few of us Anglos have, and I love it --fell a strong response to it. They are very centred, I guess you could say, in those physical expressions of themselves.
Caroline Balderston Parry is an Ottawa writer whose latest book is Eleanora's Diary. She is currently at work on a book about the traditions of Maypoles.