Sometimes we read, eat or drink something and it changes our lives.
"Come quickly, I'm tasting stars!"
Dom Perignon - the first time he sipped champagne
About 3 years ago a friend in NZ rang me to tell me about a book - Almost French by Sarah Turnbull, an Australian in Paris.
"Yours Sceptically," went out and bought it.
Basically I sat down on the couch and read it cover to cover - consuming litres of tea, onto coffee, finishing off the book with a bottle of Bordeaux red.
I then lifted myself off the couch, walked over to the window and wept.
I dried my eyes, turned around and started to live again.
The book is written by an Australian woman who comes to Paris for the love of her life - a French man. Been there?
It outlines all her cultural, social and linguistic shocks. Her blunders, misfortunes, misunderstandings.
All this she does she does with humour and great feminine perception. She doesn't "slay" France in any way. Instead she concludes by understanding and, in some ways, accepting, but without changing who she is.
I finally understood that life as a foreign woman in this country doesn't mean I have to become French myself, oust all things anglosaxon from my life ( including other anglo saxon women) nor conform to a French Bordelais model.
I threw out all my navy blue clothes ( well, almost!) and, more importantly, stopped beating myself up over non-existent "friendships" with French women and, emptied my life of those who were simply " too much hard work!!"
I accepted invitations, for the first time, from American, English, Irish,whatever, women. I started hearing others' experiences here and even shared my own - talk about a verbal symphony of ..Me too..I know..Doesn't that drive you...
We have discovered that all our "problems" have a common root, French men. But we are wise enough to remember that we LOVE these French men. Instead of getting depressed and down on ourselves, we get together and talk about our problems, and support each other.
I am now surrounded by a large group of amazing, courageous women. Sisters.
I can honestly say that my life here was rather shallow without them.
What do we do best? Laugh. ( ...and empty wine bottles!)
I am not French. I am a New Zealander living in France. After reading Almost French I realised that I should just accept and be my "kiwi" self. By being moi I can contribute something different, and hopefully, useful, to this old society.
My glass is no longer half empty...it is half full. To be honest, usually it is flowing over!! Thank you wonderful wonderful friends!! ( and their french partners!! haha!!)