Monday, July 16, 2012

Soggy summer

Greetings from very wet/misty, grey France. July has been a dud in terms of weather. The weather ladies and men keep promising us sun but there is very little of it. Luckily I know I'll be getting plenty of sun and hot (even stifling) temperatures when I go back HOME in a week and a half! Can't wait and I intend to enjoy every minute of my vacation and spending time with family and friends. Sometimes I think I can only truly be myself when I'm back home, though I think I've made progress letting my real personality come out in France (family-in-law aside where I sometimes have to bite my tongue...). Yes, three glorious weeks in the good old US of A. I so need it!

Despite the grey weather, I really have been enjoying myself already these past two weeks since I'm no longer in school. I started back at work and it's going ok. It's weird to speak English all day again as I'd really gotten used to cutting up with my classmates in French. I was a bit hesitant about being a teacher again but I think it's come back to me and I do like the contact with the students. So we could say being back at work is practically like being on vacation already as it's great to chill with my English-speaking coworkers and rediscover my American accent (if you can believe it!). Sure, I do speak English with Juju every day, but not necessarily the way I would with an adult.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been taking advantage of my freer time to do things like baking and some house cleaning and finishing books I started a year ago. Banana chocolate cake, sugar cookies...I may even try my hand at some cake pops this Saturday for a little birthday bash for Juliette. Thanks to aunt Sunny for sending me the scrumptious recipe book. Anybody out there tried those yet?

And as every time I go back home, I start reflecting a bit on how things will have changed back there and how long I've been away. There are days I feel downright Frenchie in my habits (drinking morning milk out of a bowl and often eating dinner at 8), but don't be fooled, I'm still American in my roots and my general way of thinking.

How about a little list of the American things about me I'll never lose...

1. My love for relaxed sleepwear. Crystal knows what I mean! I don't know if this is strictly American, but while watching 500 Days of Summer the other day, I noticed how the girl was wearing striped pajama bottoms and it just seemed so American. Especially since Remi sometimes doesn't get how cozy this is.


2. The need to say "Dude!" at any time. I don't know if real (current) Americans still say this, but sometimes the need is overwhelming. And I just feel quite myself when I say it.

3. A love of customer service. I may be getting used to frowning or just blasé French customer service. But I just melt when I call a US number and hear a cheery midwestern voice ask me how she can help me.

4. Sarcastic American humor. Even though it gets to me when the teens on Disney shows use it all the time, I think it really is part of our culture to come back with one-liners and jibes. Strangely, this aspect of humor is really hard to translate and most times Remi still isn't sure when I'm joking or really angry.

5. I love me a good burger. Not just McDonald's, but a nice homemade one. I've started a burger night that we observe at least every month. Along with breakfast dinner.

6. An unabashed love of convenience! This is why I love my dryer and wonder how I lived without it for so long in France. I barely ever iron now. Two years now and I still sometimes marvel at my Whirlpool.

Don't know if I've convinced you that I really still am American. Perhaps I'm more of a hybrid now, whether I want to be or not. Expats are probably confronted with this duality all their lives, even if they go back to their home country. Maybe home is just a state of mind anyway.

What makes you typical of your nationality?


Ksam said...

I made Cake Batter Truffles for a party a few weeks back and they were a huge hit!

Chad said...

I still have to bite my tongue when I'm with my in-laws. Nothing out of the country about it. I even have to do that around my extended family. It's the price you pay to hang out with family I think.

As for what makes me American, without living away for too long it's hard to say, but based on your list it's the sarcasm. For most of my work like I have worked with people not from here originally and my use of sarcasm has always been a problem. Took me a while to learn to cut it out. It's something about the tone that they just don't pick up on.

Jenenz said...

Nothing makes me happier than a bowl of steamed white rice, boiled chicken, and a little soy sauce on it. The simple things in life.

I'm hearing less "dude" these days, but it's still around.

Crystal said...

hehe loved your list! I pretty much have the same things on mine :)

I rarely speak English nowadays, and I miss it so much. I'm also incredibly homesick, but won't be able to get back til December.

I was thinking about you and getting back to work the other day. Wondering how easily I would slip back into teacher mode if I worked there with you again. I never liked the job there, but I loved my colleagues and our easy conversation peppered with sarcastic American wit and expressions :)

Have a great trip back home and enjoy every second. You know how fleeting those trips are.

Bisous from the warm, sunny Alps ;)

P.S. I'm on sick leave for almost a month, and you'd better believe I'll be living in my pyjamas :)