Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hmm

Days after the twelfth anniversary of my arrival to stay in France - which was marked by twelve white roses quietly left at my door - I received a reminder that no matter how long I've been here, I'll always be a foreigner. Which is how it should be, shouldn't it? I mean, I'm not French, I was raised by American parents in a monocultural household. Well, relatively speaking. My mother is from the South and that did have its influence on my life.

Anyway, Saturday evening at a lovely dinner hosted by a lovely friend in a lovely setting, surrounded by interesting people of all nationalities and varieties, I was told I was, "so very American."

I started laughing, at least on the inside, although I may have worn a look of WTF irritation on my face. That is the one thing I never hear, have never heard once during the past twelve years. I took slight offense, I admit it. Not because being perceived as very American is always a bad thing, but that such a judgment could be delivered after ten minutes of conversation.

Having said that, I'm sure he was quite right.

13 comments:

beth said...

you're my favorite "so very American" french gal.

JChevais said...

This morning I noticed a poster in the metro for the Theatrical representation of "La cage aux folles".

I looked at Christian Clavier with his limp wrist and realised that I really feel at home in this country. I don't know how to explain it.

Lorraine said...

The roses were a very nice thing. Has it really been 12 years? Holy cow.

Nicole said...

Beth - thank you sweetie!

J - Me too. Mostly.

Lorraine - Yep, it was in 97. Holy cow indeed. Time enough to get married, have two babies, and get divorced. The roses were perfect.

Mike F. said...

Her comment was ignorant.

What does it even mean? And which American stereotype are you supposed to be? The fitness obsessed, blackberry using, corporate type? Or the obese, McDonald's eating, minivan driving slob? (Okay, you're definitely not that one... :) I guess the answer is, whatever is convenient to their preconceptions.

America is the most multi-cultural place in the world. I was just overseas where someone told me they were surprised to like someone from the land of George Bush. I had to remind them that 50% of the people of America didn't vote for the man.

I was in France a couple of years ago, and someone dismissed jogging as such an American thing to do. Um, France has people who like to stay in shape. They do have an Olympic team, oui?

Nicole said...

Mike - His comment.

For the record, I'm not a fitness obsessed, blackberry using corporate type either. Although I do quite a lot of power yoga and I *love* my nokia E71, you know, the one that looks like a blackberry but isn't? And I think I'd have been paychecks if I were a bit more corporate.

But yes, I know what you mean. Silly comments like this span the globe, I was mortified at some of the comments my ex-husband got sometimes when we visited the States.

Philippe said...

What does that mean "WTF" ?

Nicole said...

Philippe - It's very vulgar - what the f**k?

jltastro said...

I remember situations abroad where people would comment my being so unfrench and some other times so typically French... And it could be either way positive or negative (one women couldn't stop insulting me when I told her I was French for real). You never know, although one thing is sure : people from every land love to make in your face comments when you're a stranger ! People are stupid, but I love them... and excuse my French !

philippe said...

I would say : you're my favorite"so very french" american gal (sorry Beth !)

Philippe said...

Thanks for explain WTF! Have a good nignt.

Nicole said...

jl - exactly right

Philippe - thank you! home is where I hang my hat, right?

Ok, now I need a hat.

Reb said...

Grrrrr...I can't help but dig my nails into the palms of my hands and clench my jaw when I hear ignorant and racist comments like that (can you still call it racism even though being American isn't a race?)