Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Got this idea from the Femina magazine, a fairly well-done women's magazine which is included with the Sunday papers around here. They interviewed foreign women who now live in France and asked them a series of questions. As I read the article I found myself formulating my own answers.

So Q&A:

My history:
Alabama girl meets French guy while in Holland. Finds internship in France and decides to stay on. Married with a bébé and Cat-ki.

What's the most American quality I have?
Hmm, without sounding totally arrogant about my nationality, I really think there's an openess and casualness that we have and that I continue to carry with me. It's what I always noticed when I go back home, and have mentioned before, how folks in the airport start calling you "honey" and giving you conspiratorial winks and smiles and joking around. These things can happen in France, but it just seems rarer. So I'd say I like to create these kinds of encounters here. There, is that clear?

What's the most French quality I have?
Now that I've been living here nearly 8 years (scary!), I think I do appreciate the idea of taking your time and enjoying the little things. Take Sundays. Nearly nothing is open except a few supermarkets in the morning or a bakery or two. Which forces you to do other things like take walks. As annoying as the lack of open shops can be, I have started to enjoy this forced quiet time.

What my double identity adds to my personality?

That I can just as easily be pleased by fresh baguettes and frilly pastries as with a pack of easy-bake muffin mix from the US. Here's a picture from my local bakery, just to maintain my food obsessive photography motif. I think I try to take the best of each culture and enjoy it and create my own fusion. Plus there can be times that knowing two languages adds some new dimensions to either language.

What I want to pass on about my origins?

I'd like Juliette to know that she can do whatever she wants. In France it's not that you tell kids they can't do anything, but the school system is somewhat restrictive. I remember when I told my host family in France that I wanted to work in a botanical garden. They immediately started telling me this was a really tough job to get in France as it was often at a government level and you'd have to pass an exam, etc. Maybe, so, but I want my daughter to think beyond the restrictions. Maybe this is more of an American dream attitude?

A childhood memory:

So many, how can I choose? Playing fort in the woods with the kids that lived in my dad's neighborhood. Fourth of July at mom's house and fresh blueberries and all the fixin's. Playing legos with my sister.

My favorite smell from back home:

The smell after a hard rain, like a nice summer downpour.

Fellow expats or those who've simply transplanted from one state to another, I'd love to know your answers to this survey. So feel free to respond in a comment our on your own blog.


Amber said...

Thank you so much for your comment on my blog and for letting me know that i'm not alone in this whole baby thing. I really appreciate your kind words!

Now, your question -- most American and most French qualities? hmm -- I have to say, my most American quality is my smile and my laugh. I'm not afraid to smile at strangers and say hello or to laugh out loud when I think something is funny. I'm also outspoken -- when we get bad service in a restaurant, I speak my mind rather than holding my tongue. Maybe that's a personality trait rather than an "American" trait though.

Most French? I'm sad to say because I know people find it strange, but the no-touching thing has definitely caught on with me. When I went back to the states after almost 3 years, one of the things that shocked me most was the fact that strangers touch each other so much! It seemed like I constantly had hands on me and I felt like my personal space was really invaded.

Anonymous said...

i'm going to do the same on my blog but would it be possible to somehow, and I honestly don't know how really, get my hands on a copy of the original article? Is it small enough to be scanned and sent in an email?