jeudi 5 juillet 2007
As to be expected, the fourth of july passes rather quietly here. Perhaps if there was a bigger American community here like there is in Paris, or if I worked for the Consulate, it would be different. I don't know. Instead, I went to work as usual. Last year we went to the fireworks display on the 14th of July, bastille day. I just pretend that it is the 4th. Red white and blue, fireworks, all good. I posted this entry last year about national identity.
Am always interested in hearing people's comments.

3 commentaires:

Samantha a dit…

That was a very interesting post, and a topic that I often struggle with, especially since this is a country/culture that I did not choose.

I get sad when I think about my kids missing out on all the things I grew up with - though Fab finally telling me "You know, my childhood here in France was pretty good TOO" helped. But the fact is, they will grow up identifying themselves as French, not American, no matter what their two passports say.

I also don't believe it is possible to be 100% bicultural and bilingual. The longer I stay here, the more I find myself forgetting how things were in the US, such as the fact that stores are open on Sundays or incoming cell phone calls are free or you have to leave tips. My vocabulary in English is growing smaller everyday, being replaced by new French words instead.

As for the language issue, I think both grammar AND pronunciation are important. Having an accent is almost a benefit for you at this point. Just think about it - if you spoke French like a Frenchie and still made mistakes, people would either think you were slow or uneducated. At least your accent gives them an excuse, an "Oh, she's a foreigner, it's okay".

But that's just my 0.2 cents (even thought you actually got like a dollar's worth)!!

mlle smith a dit…

Megan, your friend's viewpoint about not really fitting in in either country is one of the reasons I wanted to return to Europe SO MUCH. I spent the first half of my adult-life overseas in Germany and though part of it was for the military (I also lived in Germany as a civilian, afterward), I was still used to the European way of doing things and living. Returning to the US for me and for most of my soldier friends was culture shock.

In the US, I was critical of the way of doing many things or the extremely pro-capitalist/pro-military approach (among many other things), and in Europe, I stood out as an American. I didn't have a sense of belonging between the two, but I knew that I felt more at home in Germany than in the US.

As for losing an accent, I'm not sure if that's ever really possible. My ex is German and though most people say he simply has no accent when he speaks English, he pronounces "bed", "head", and "better" like someone would if they were from the Germanic countries. I can hear it because I've lived in Germany for so many years, but I don't know if other people notice it.

Petite (the blogger) once wrote that she spoke French as well as any Frenchman would (which she does) and she felt people would have a hard time identifying her as English. But when Olivier and I heard her speaking on the news, he immediately identified her as English. So I think no matter how hard we try, people that are familiar with or native to the language will likely be able to identify our accents, etc.

If I decide to stay (I haven't a clue yet of whether I'll run for the hills or not) I would like to be able to vote...this idea of paying taxes and not voting is so foreign to Americans. Voting here requires citizenship. I honestly don't want to have children in the US. Not at all. Children in Germany and France have a chance to just be children...children in the US have to grow up so quickly and are immediately confronted/bombarded with images, situations, ideas that are just foreign to children in Germany and in France. Germany, especially, is a great place to raise children...

Still, I would want my children to have citizenship for both countries - whichever those two should be.

I'm very critical of the populism in the US...but I'm also very proud of where I come from, my language, and the contribution/strength of my ancestors in building the US.

If I didn't major in Political Science, believe me, I would feel quite the opposite.

Poppy Fields a dit…

I feel "lost in translation". Stuck in between two countries, two cultures, not really belonging to either. I have been here almost 16 years, and when I go back to the USA, I definitely feel foreign, but I still feel that way here in france, too. My network of longterm-expat friends helps fill a void as does this new network of blog friends. It's one place where I am sure there is someone who will "get" where I am coming from.

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