Category Archives: North American Culture

I am home.

By   July 22, 2009

After a rough weekend – delayed flight, massive headache, throwing up – I’m starting to get over the jetlag and adjust to life in the US again. I’ve eaten too many donuts, which may or may not have played a part in the puking this weekend, bought a ton of cheap stuff at Walmart (I know, I’m sorry), went to the dentist, got my hair cut, fixed computers and ordered dad a new one that I will get to play with soon. Luckily my bridesmaid dress and shoes fit almost perfectly, so I think I’m ready for the wedding even though we don’t leave for Virginia until the 29th.

Here are just 3 of the many, many reasons why I’m glad to be home:

Doggies! Brandy and Shadow are not allowed in the kitchen while we’re eating and it makes them sad.

So good and yet so bad.

BIG back yard.

It feels good to not be rushed or ruled by someone else’s schedule. I can go shopping and get something to eat 24 hours a day. Everything is open during lunch. People don’t care if I don’t eat at exactly noon and if I want to eat dinner by 5:30pm. I’m not forced to waste 2 hours sitting around during meals. The buildings and roads are so big. There are wide open spaces full of green grass and there is absolutely no noise at night (NO scooters!!!) I feel much more relaxed here, but that’s mostly because I’m out in the country and not in a city.

Of course, I do miss France a little (and David a lot!). Paying $169 for that dentist appointment because I don’t have insurance in the US sure makes me appreciate French healthcare. And it’s also the little things like having shutters on the windows to completely block out the light and tax already being included in the prices in stores that makes me wish there was a country that had just the best of both cultures and none of the bad.

I can’t really decide which I like more, the US or France. I’m sure I could come up with a million reasons for and against each country, but I suppose it will always be skewed since I’ve lived in the US longer than France and it’s what I know best. But I hated the US before I moved to France and thought I would never want to move back. Now I’m not so sure. Then again, it could just be the nostalgia and homesickness that blinds me to the reasons why I wanted to leave in the first place. A three week visit is not the same as actually living and working here again.

Those reasons will have to come later because I’m going outside to play in the yard with Brandy!

The True North strong and free!

By   July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends and to those who just love all things Canadian (like me)!

I’ve been listening to the national anthem (in English and French, of course) and poking around for a while now. This linguistics-related article was interesting: Canuck-speak like learning a new language Oh, Bob & Doug, I’ve missed you. And I can’t wait to go to Tim Horton’s when I’m home (because we have them in Michigan even though we’re not a part of Canada… at least not geographically.)

Have a Happy Canada Day, eh?

Multilingual is always better than monolingual

By   January 23, 2009

From the New York Times:

Nashville Won’t Make English Official Language

Published: January 22, 200

Nashville voters on Thursday rejected a proposal to make English the city’s official language and largely to prevent government workers from communicating in other languages.

The proposal was introduced by Eric Crafton, a metropolitan councilman. It was opposed by a broad coalition including the mayor, civil rights groups, business leaders, ministers and the heads of nine institutions of higher education.

“The results of this special election reaffirm Nashville’s identity as a welcoming and friendly city,” Mayor Karl Dean said in a statement.

Mr. Crafton had said the policy would encourage immigrants to learn English and save the city more than $100,000 in translation and related costs. The policy allowed exceptions to its English-only rule for issues of health and safety.

Critics said the proposal would tarnish Nashville’s reputation as a cultural mixing pot and drive away immigrants and international businesses. They also accused Mr. Crafton of worsening anti-immigrant sentiment and wasting at least $350,000 of taxpayer’s money on a special election.

[ Full Article ]

I can see the reasoning behind wanting immigrants to learn English, but forcing it upon them is not the answer.  Immigrants in France must learn French because it is the official language, but France has always had an assimilation policy. The US has no official language because we prefer the “melting pot” idea. Keep your culture, keep your religion, keep your language! Learning English will obviously help with everyday life in America, but it is not what makes you American.

Thank You Mommy & Daddy

By   December 12, 2008

We received our Christmas packages from my parents! The only thing I really wanted was books from, but for some odd reason, they were shipped from New Zealand instead of the US. If you’re bad at geography, just know that New Zealand is as far away from France as you can possibly get on the planet. Compared to Auckland, New York is practically next door to France, so I can’t see the reasoning behind it, unless it’s some elaborate scheme to charge a ridiculous amount for shipping…

For the other package I had to go to the post office and pick it up because they would not deliver it. It was too encombrant (bulky) for them to bother, apparently. I even had to go to a different part of the post office to get it because they couldn’t bring it out to the counter. Just because the box weighed a measly 32.25 pounds. My arms were burning and I was sweating by the time I got home (which is only two city blocks away). It took about an hour for my arms to stop shaking afterwards, but it was so worth it.

Stuffing mix, pumpkin pie mix, Easy Cheese, Oreos, peanut butter, pudding, a block of CHEDDAR CHEESE, root beer, more language books, and stockings filled with goodies for everyone! (I promise we didn’t open the wrapped goodies yet, mom. Except the Oreos, obviously…)

David also got the waterproof Dickie boots he wanted since it’s actually cheaper to buy shoes in the US than have them shipped from Paris. He’s a size 13 American / 48 European which is nearly impossible for him to find here. He finally got to walk in the snow without his feet freezing!

Canaille has been sniffing the stockings a lot, but he seems to be most thankful for the box.

Thank you!!!

Just another Thursday

By   November 27, 2008

The day I always feel the most homesick is almost over.

I’m ready for Christmas season in more ways than one.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it, and especially to those who can’t.