Saturday, November 24, 2012

Absence makes the heart grow fonder... for countries, too

My country 'tis of thee...

There are times I get more nostaligic for my homeland than others.  The last few months the French press has been star-spangling their news programs to let the average French viewer get to know the US in light of the presidential elections.  Nearly every night I got to see what Americans were dealing with in terms of the financial crisis, and it was eye-opening for me, even though I do get news updates from my family (and my home county has even gone bankrupt). 

Or other nights they'd interview Frenchies who'd gone over to the US to live their "American dream."  Yep, even in France, where you'd think they'd snub their noses at what the US has to offer, you'd be surprised to know how many young French people salivate over life in the states.  The US represents opportunity and making it on your own- things that are frankly not so easy in France, sometimes.   

Then there was the coverage of the superstorm Sandy which also put images of the northeast on my screen.  

With all these little news reports, I felt quite at home, even if sometimes they didn't show the whole picture.  Ten years being away from home changes you.  And your country can't help but change during that time, too.  Sometimes I feel I don't know my country as well as I used to.  But it's always my country. 

Then I also had the pleasure of meeing another American girl via my Canadian friend in my town.  And we had a girls' night out (no dancing on tables, mind you) where we mostly chatted about how we sometimes don't get France and how French people don't always get us.  Especially from a mom point of view as both ladies have small childeren, too.  And just talking with folks who knew about Panera Bread and Krispy Kreme and, yeah, Starbucks, made me feel so very at home.  And missing home.

Then, this week Thanksgiving came around and I felt an insane need to eat turkey and find sweet potatoes.  I actually didn't cook the latter but we had our little token T-day meal here at home on Thursday night and said what we were thankful for.  Juliette may not quite understand this holiday yet, but I'm glad I'm passing it on to her all the same.

(Turkey baked in French's fried onions, green beans, a cous cous-like wheat dish, and cool rolls that I wish I'd made myself but so did not.) 


I recently saw a documentary on Italian-Americans living in some small bay town in New England and how they fervently celebrated some Sicilian saint day every year.  They were already about the fourth generation there but wanted to remember their origins.  It's important to us expats to honor our traditions (at least the ones we like) and remember where we're from.  And who we are!