états-unis

| the United States (masculine plural noun) | /etazyni/

Since arriving in France, I could place all of my French friends, acquaintances, and mistakes on a spectrum. On the one end, you have your American fetishists who love American culture, American girls, American English, etc. If I had an identical face and personality, but a different nationality, they wouldn’t find me as interesting. I fulfill some sort of fantasy. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who think they’re innately superior to the dumb, unworldly American. They say things like, “Oh, you say that ’cause you’re American.” or: “Jesus, stop being so American.” They may have spent a few months living and working in the States, or perhaps they’ve never visited. Nevertheless, they believe that watching American television, films, and news reports are an authentic enough representation of culture. However, it’s important to note that French humor revolves around making fun of everyone and everything, so no one is immune to their mockery.

My favorite people are those who fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. These are the people with whom you have rich exchanges about cultural differences. They pose sincere questions about life in the U.S. and your stance on current affairs. They probably think your accent’s cute or that you’re really fun (but maybe too loud.). But, really, that’s okay. Thankfully, this is the majority of the people I’ve met.

Somedays I really miss the U.S., because I’m tired of having to defend myself. In my last post, I wrote about how I couldn’t categorize my feelings. Do I feel this way because I’m American? Because I’m depressed? Because I’m a rising Sagittarius? I don’t know. I’ll never know, I guess. But basically I’m tired of asking myself these questions. And I’m tired of having to answer them for other people. That’s when I start to miss home.

Let me be perfectly clear: I love France. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have abandoned my friends, family, and dog to come here. When people ask me why I moved abroad, I don’t really know what to say. I guess it’s ’cause I learn something new everyday. These lessons, whether painful or rapturous or both, carry a sort of gravity that’s missing from my life in the U.S. Like relationships cured abroad, these lessons are unforgettable and more likely to last. Months from now, when and if I make it back home, I’ll be bruised and ecstatic with the weight of what I’ve learned.

About Gabriella

I'm a twenty-something insomniac with a caffeine addiction and chronic wanderlust. I recently graduated with my M.A. in French, and I've spent the past two years living and working as an English teacher in France. I now work as an English professor at a university in Lille, where my students are learning to never omit the Oxford comma.
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