As we were walking yesterday, just as we do almost daily now that the weather is warm, I didn’t think much about the houses, cars or the fact that I heard nothing but French being spoken around me. I passed French bakeries with only a small amount of drooling, now have dog doo radar installed (it’s really an art you must learn over time), pass cars parked on sidewalks without a second glace, got over as soon as I heard the little bike bell when before I had to think about what the sound was, admired a stork passing overhead like I do almost daily along with many other sights, sounds and smells that would have struck me as strange two years ago. Now, while I do still appreciate my life as an American living in France, I am home.
France is as much my home as any Frenchman’s. I don’t feel like a stranger in a strange land anylonger. I feel like this is my country and I adore my life in France. Lately, I don’t even think much about my being an American in France.
Only twice during my walk was I struck by this fact. Once when my husband told me that I was scaring him because I was becoming like a real French. This was when I almost threw the apple I was eating at a car which sped past myself and Petite Clown as we were crossing the road. We were near the sidewalk and the driver sped around us too fast for my comfort all because they were too bothered to wait until we were completely on the sidewalk. I was furious and caught myself just as I was raising my arm up to throw my apple at their car. I would have never thought to do that in America. The second time was on the way home just as I was about to pass under a window and the owner reached out and shut the shutters.
For me, as an American who grew up in the land of fake screwed to the side of the house shutters, this simple act of shutting shutters is still romantic and foreign. When I see it I think of old movies that I loved to watch about Europe and in particular, France during my childhood. You see, I have loved France for as long as I can remember. So, when I see this act of shutting shutters I am transported back to the days when I could only dream of walking in French streets filled with windows framed with real wooden shutters that could be shut. I am reminded of the fact that I am still a stranger discovering this beautiful country and hopefully I will continue to each day for the rest of my life. It is an adventure and a blessing.
My true love is…France.
Shhhh…don’t tell my husband, he may be jealous.
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