I normally don’t profess things like on social media or websites. I prefer to keep my personal information (particularly about relationships) to myself. But this Valentine’s Day, I simply can’t. This Valentine’s Day marks my one month. On January 14th, we met and it was love at first sight. I just had to share it with all of you! I’m so happy because I am in love.
I’m in love with the country of France. I arrived on January 14th and today marks a month. I’ve been in France for a month, can you believe that? It goes by so fast! Was it really love at first sight? Eh…kinda. That first day was rough, but any good relationship takes time. No relationship is perfect and there are certainly bumps along the way. But at the end of the day? I’m in love with this beautiful country.
People often ask me, which do you like better? America or France? For me, neither country is better than the other. Both have awesome qualities, both have problems. One of the best things about France? The bread. I’m serious. It is so cheap and so yummy! One of the best things about America? No immigration paperwork because I’m a citizen.
Did you actually think that I would confess my love on a blog? Silly reader. I did fool you a few other times though. My most popular blog posts up to date are ones that have “Bar” and “Cocaine” in the title. It seems that you are most interested in seeing me go wild abroad…not in my intellectual engagements abroad. Unfortunately, you won’t get the chance to see me go crazy abroad. When I return to the United States, I will be the same person with the same morals, but my ideas and perceptions of the world will have changed.
What does that mean? Well, I’m not looking for love abroad…although boys are trying! I am still painfully socially awkward and oblivious. It doesn’t matter what language these boys speak. I just don’t get the whole flirting thing. It doesn’t make sense to me. For example, at the Welcome Party, several nice looking boys engaged my friend and me in conversation. They were asking for very personal information about where we lived and what we were doing after the Welcome Party. To me, that signals a potential kidnapper. To any other normal person, that is flirting. I like to err on the side of caution though, especially abroad. I try not to talk too much about myself (single, American, young, blonde girl: easy target!), although my American accent gives me away nearly every time.
Other awkward encounters. Oh, at the same party, two Moroccan boys randomly starting dancing with me. One boy pulled me close to him and, naïve me, I assumed he wanted to twirl me around. So I twirled. He tried again. I twirled again. He gave up. I learned later that he wasn’t trying to twirl me around, he was trying to get a little too close to me. Whoops. I missed that context completely.
My most awkward encounter? While there have been many old guys who have stopped me in the streets, I was alone in a garden. A man, about fifty, came up to me. “It’s beautiful here, isn’t it?” he asked.
I thought he was being friendly. After all, it was a beautiful garden. “Oui, très jolie,” I answered.
About two minutes later, I realized that he was using that as a pickup line. A fifty year old man. Trying to pick me up. No, no, no. I tried to end the conversation politely, but he continued to talk. Eventually he got my hint that I wanted to leave and ended the conversation with, “Do you want to go to a bar later?”
“Non, merci.” Run away. Run away now! Creepy old man. Alert! Alert!
“Wait, take my number!”
“I’m sorry. I don’t have a French cell phone number.” Which, thankfully at the time, was the truth.
So, despite the best efforts of these dashing men abroad (young and old, mostly old), I am spending my Valentine’s Day focusing on the things I really love. My friends and my family. And, of course, my studies! Today, I took my first exam in my grammar class. I had to write in the passé simple! Who writes in the passé simple? Ick. I hope I wrote the right conjugations. I have my second exam tomorrow in my grammar class.
Before I go, a few people have asked about Valentine’s Day in France. Yes, they recognize it and they do celebrate it to some extent. It isn’t as big of a deal as it is in the United States. However, they do have lots of posters and the student union is having a Valentine’s Day concert.
How am I celebrating my one month mark in France? How am I celebrating Valentine’s Day? I have a test tomorrow! What do you think I’m doing? I’m studying of course…and writing this blog post. Lots to get done.
Here’s to a month in France! Here’s to discovering what I love –family, friends, language, literature, life! The rest will come in time…and I’m in no hurry.
P.S- I hope my awkward encounters made you laugh. I’ll admit. I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t catch on sooner.