I began studying French in September 1998. Eighth grade, middle school, Mademoiselle Majewicz. I picked the French name "Rosette" because "Rose" wasn't on the list. Ten years later, I now know that rosette is actually a kind of sausage. That makes for a good dinner conversation.
I have studied French for nearly eleven years now. Intensive vocabulary, grammar, culture. Intensive (and expensive!) trips. Some of the best teachers. Some of the best books.
If proficiency is measured in the subconscious, then I think I may be getting somewhere. I find myself babbling in French even when no one's listening. I speak in English to myself occasionally, but directly translating the French I'm thinking. French is becoming more and more natural, or I'm becoming more and more comfortable.
"We breathe in our first language and swim in our second." ~ Adam Gopnik, Paris to the Moon.
I had my very first dream in French on Thursday night. I surprised myself awake. People (again, never anyone I recognize) and I were speaking French.
Pretty neat, huh?