About Me

My photo
Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

Search My Blog

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Culture Shock: My Weird Inbetween Place

I'm not quite French- I'm aware of that as I open my mouth in class and read in my 'A-marry-can' voice.  I'm not quite American, which I see as I slowly lose touch with some of the tendencies of American culture... what am I?

Over the weekend I went to a party with Bri that was hosted by a Quebecois.  Unfortunately for her, Quebec people aren't really liked by French people, fortunately for her, her accent was perfect and could barely sense a trace of the duck-like Quebec French on her breath.

As for me?  She hated me.  It was apparent as she trapsed her boyfriend over to introduce him to Bri and in doing so failed to even acknowledge my existence.  Went something like this:

Her:  Salut, ça c'est Brian, on a travaillé ensemble a la bibliothèque l'année dernière.  (she flicks her eyes towards me, then pretends like I don't exist), et oui!

Brian shook hands with the guy, and I prepared some brief statements to say, 'Hi!  How are ya!' for after she would introduce me, but it never arrived.  She said she had something to attend to, then parted.  He followed.  I stood there agast... yup.  Quebec hates America- they must... or at least this one hates me.  It made me think real hard about who I wanted to spend my time with.  I tried to be around Americans but only found myself frustrated and confused as to why I didn't get the jokes or the behaviors.  I try to be around French but I get lost in the conversation and make language mistakes that make them giggle but me embarrassed.

It's weird being one foot in/one foot out of two cultures.  I can see so many difference between the two and I am adjusting to what I prefer...

Americans.  The loudness and pretentious attitude of being American (it's normal, I'm controlling that now, but I was so loud when I first arrived), the habit of hating silence and having to fill the conversation with completely incoherent and random thoughts to avoid the dreaded, SILENCEThe flaky nature of friendship, or even worse the nod of the head in the street when you see someone you know?  The act of being a young American, namely binge drinking as it's illegal until we're 21 in the States.  The concept that everone speaks English, so I'm gonna speak it loud and proud.

But then there's the opposing side.

The French.  The fact that during conversations is totally normally and not considered rude to completely interrupt someone's thought or sentence- as long as you get it in loud and proud.  The fact that they can get completely lost in my American-French accent and vice versa.  The lack of decent take-out food for those days I really want to just watch crappy TV and eat Indian Food.. (well that's more of my personality conflicting with France.)  The fear of looking into some guys eyes on the street... because then they'll feel invited to comment in vulgar French on your ass-bits, your chest-bits.  Awful.  The Police are absolutely fearful of crime here, and would prefer to stand in groups and bust drug dealers than to bust a man beating another man in Guillotière.

But in the end of reflecting.. I realize the key things that are different.  There are no tea party candidates debating like retards on television.  There is no Fox News reciting the latest lies against the Obama administration.  There are thousands of people protesting against the movement of a retirement age, following their tradition of communicating what they want to the Government.

Ugh.  I dunno.  All I know is that the more time goes on the more I am losing the ability to connect to America and Americans, and the more I am being pulled into France and the French people... oh and some Europeans in general.

The problem is that even though I prefer to envelope in the culture- I still face a slight language barrier and it's hard to be 100% into anything if you can't communicate effectively.

I'll continue to persevere.


1 comment:

  1. I agree with you! It's hard finding that happy medium! Are you living in Lyon? If you ever want to meet up, send me an email

    take care! A bienot!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...