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Why I’m not a lawyer …

Bethany Auchettl - 08/07/13 - wwW.MyFrenchLife.orgThe first thing you might notice about me is that I’m an American. I wish I could say that I’ve got some heritage connecting me to the Francophone world, but alas, I’m a German Cherokee mutt, born and bred in suburban Ohio. Thus, I’m almost as surprised as you are that I ended up being a French teacher and a veritable Francophile. As one might expect, I didn’t start out with that intention, but life has a funny way of helping you get where you need to be… I think I wanted to be a lawyer since I was in fourth grade and one of my teachers said, wow, you’d make a great lawyer.  In retrospect I’m not sure if that was meant to be a compliment, but it was enough to inspire me toward that particular vocation. I saw French as a fun side project and an attractive quality for my resume while I concentrated on winning Mock Trial debates. That all changed in one precise moment.

A class trip to France and Spain found me traipsing around the streets of Paris with my friends, translating for them and making chitchat with the locals.  At only seventeen, we nervously ordered wine in cafés and incredulously bought beer from vending machines. We haunted the gardens, climbed the steps to Montmarte, savored baguettes and bought tacky souvenirs. My classmates complained almost constantly about this or that or the other, but I had never had so much fun as that first taste of freedom in that beautiful city. When it was time to go, to leave Paris behind and head South, I felt my heart break. It collapsed in my chest as I stood on a hill and gazed over the city for the last time that trip… I remember the physical sensation of loss, of an ache so powerful it pulled at me and begged me to stay. I knew, rationally, that I could not- that I had to move on with my class and traverse the Pyrenees and eventually return to my life in Ohio. But, oh, how I wanted so badly to disappear down the alleyways and wrap myself in a blanket of France. It was at that moment that I had to laugh at myself, at my ‘ridiculousness’ in thinking that I had wanted to be an attorney all those years.
Bethany Auchettl - 08/07/13 - www.MyFrenchLife.org........

I changed my mind then with a firmness and determination that I had not thought myself capable of possessing- I would study French because come hell or high water, I knew I had to come back. French blood may not run through my veins as such, but the country called to me in a way I could have never before imagined. When I returned to the States I threw myself into my French studies with added fervor. It paid off in the end- I’ve lived in France twice now and studied for a term in Martinique. I love my career; I couldn’t love it more. I love to teach and in doing so spread my own admiration and passion for the French language- the systematic beauty of the rules, the exceptions to the rules and the exceptions to the exceptions. I love the memories of my life in France and the feeling that comes with knowing I’ve followed my dreams. I love the inherent ‘Frenchiness’ of all things French. I love that that one moment in time changed my life so completely and in doing so made me who I am today.



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4 Comments




  1. Sue Williams
    9 years ago

    Great article, Bethany!

    You’ve explained so well how easy it is to fall in love with France – I loved your phrase “wrap myself in a blanket of France”.

    And I know you said you don’t have French blood, but that photo of you in the snow – you could pass for a Frenchwoman, I think!


  2. Debra
    9 years ago

    I thought you looked very French in the snow too! A wonderful article Bethany. It certainly sounds like you have made exactly the right career choice! Look forward to hearing more.


  3. Judy MacMahon
    9 years ago

    hee hee so glad you are not a lawyer!


  4. Bethany Untied
    8 years ago

    Hey guys, thought I responded to this ages ago but my comment isn’t there so I probably fudged it up somehow hehehe.

    Thanks for your wonderful replies, and your support of my career choice ! 🙂 I’m very, very happy with the path my French-influenced life has taken me along !

    Bisous bisous !!!