"When good Americans die, they go to Paris." - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

France Has More to Offer than You Think, America

Today I realized I only have two months left in France, and it hurts. I can barely organize my thoughts right now, but I will try. It's so strange to know I'm living a double life. I have so much in the States. There's my family, my boyfriend, my friends, who are all waiting for me. I'm a student. I have this crazy, busy, wonderful life back home, but I've also made another home here. I'm living here for five months. I have a family and a routine: tapas and wine on Sundays, beer on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, sometimes Wednesdays...Coffee daily with Lien.

Abroad, it's so hard to make friends. But when you meet those special people, the bond is unbreakable. I'm still close friends with the people I went to Italy with last summer, and I was only there for three weeks. The people here have become my best friends, and it's only been two months. How can you not become best friends? You're together in a foreign country, trying to adapt to another culture with another language. These four people are all you have. So make a toast on Friday night or snicker over the rims of your coffee cups. These people are gonna be here for you when you don't think you can make it home on the weekends or when your day is hard or when you miss the familiarity of home.

I don't want anyone to take offense to this. Of course I miss everyone at home. But for the first time I feel like I belong somewhere. My entire life I've lived as an outsider, always hating Greeneville where I grew up and wondering where I should really be. The big cities were too unfriendly, too overwhelming. And the States never left me mesmerized like cities in Europe. I came to France and finally feel good. I'm in awe.

I guess I have two months to savor this wonderful culture. Here, it's custom to enjoy life. This is a luxury America has forgotten. We are always multi-tasking and running from one errand to the next. We never sit back and have a real conversation, and it makes the country unfriendly. Here, I'm blessed enough to have a family dinner almost every night. We sit for hours and talk together. No television. No radio. And during the day, I get coffee with my friends and we talk, really talk. How will I come home and adjust to the individualistic American culture?

As for right now, I'm going to take a lesson from the French and enjoy the moment. Cheers.

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