To remember this distance and the constance of friendship, regardless of how long it's been since your paths have crossed, seems to add a touch more humanity to the technology-driven lives we're all leading, and it's something that I've found the French do particularly well.
"You're so... nationalistic," he said. "Patriotic," I corrected, but the comment stuck with me and made me think a lot about what differences outsiders really notice once they get a taste of a new culture.
Just because I was in a country that called Thanksgiving 'American Christmas' was no reason for me to miss the traditions of pie and turkey, and so I started my own traditions... not without a few hiccups along the way.
Worst of all, upon my first morning in France, my host father tried to give me the bise, I recoiled in surprise. Every morning thereafter, when he made his morning bise rounds around the breakfast table, he offered me a firm handshake, which made me feel all the more ridiculous.
I want to shove underlined passages under the noses of uninterested Frenchmen, to point to them and say, “Look, see. This is why you are the way you are. This is why I will never be like you.”
No matter how long I stay in France, there are certain expressions that will never have the same meaning in French as they do in English.
I fell in love with France easily, but giving my heart wholly to a new country and language took more time; it's easy to fall in love with France, but how do you stay in love when she won't let you in?
It’s like… watching television while my mother is vacuuming. Just enough comprehension to make it completely and wholly frustrating when I can’t pick out enough words to understand... Since arriving in the North of France, it feels as if it’s been weeks since my thoughts were clear.