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Julie, Julia and joie de vivre

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Life is there to be appreciated

I was watching the film Julie and Julia the other day and was struck by something Julia Child supposedly said. While strolling down an avenue in 1950s Paris, Julia noted to her husband… “I feel like I am French”.  Indeed.

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Julia Child in France

The comment had me thinking back to the first moment that I, myself, felt like I was French. It wasn’t the fact that I’d been living there for a while. It wasn’t the fact that my shoes were French, my clothes were French and my haircut was French. It wasn’t the delicious demi-baguette that I munched on absent-mindedly, and it certainly wasn’t the American music resounding from my Discman.

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Typical french baguettes

No, it was none of these more tangible things. Instead, it was a sensation – the essence of that lovely thing the French call joie de vivre. I was young, I was alive, I had a beautiful Sunday afternoon free, and I wandered aimlessly through the historic alleys of my town. It saddened me to think that before I’d moved to France, I’d been too busy studying to spend a listless afternoon strolling in the sunshine with nowhere to go and nowhere to be. As I recall, the notion of finally feeling French hit me with such force that I stopped in my tracks for a moment and just smiled to myself. The passing Frenchmen must have thought me quite odd, I reckon!

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The small pleasures in life: good coffee

Since then, there have been many other moments where I have caught myself feeling French. Cooking dinner in high heels, passionately debating hot-button issues over coffee, seven-hour dinner parties – there will always be moments in my life where I feel a connection to my French brethren that cannot be explained by mere genetics. The way of life in France is iconic and, thankfully, infectious. I’m glad I caught the French bug so early on, and I try every day to live my life as if I were French – unhurried, passionate and appreciative of the good things in life.



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2 Comments




  1. Virginia Jones
    9 years ago

    Oh I wish I could say I feel French when in Paris. I try so hard and think I”m somewhere between a tourist………….and a Parisian. That’s a long distance for someone from Alabama to go. I feel so at home in Paris now, but I know I’ll NEVER be a Parisian, but maybe I’m some near the center? 🙂
    V


  2. Bethany Untied
    9 years ago

    Hahaha well even as I feel French in my bones, I know I still stick out there like a sore thumb with all my innate Americanness. 😛