Sunday, 24 April 2011

An Observation

Although it was never a serious conviction, I've realised that part of me vaguely assumed that after having lived in France for a while, I would, in some way, become French. I know that's ridiculous, but firstly I underestimated the cultural differences and overestimated my fluency in the language. I still don't get at least half of the jokes. Secondly, it made sense somewhat because a lot of personal changes in my life were precipitated by a change in location. When I worked in a bookshop, I felt like a bookseller, it fit me. Most significantly, when I went to university, I became a student. I am a student. These attitudes have become part of me. So it's very strange to have come to Paris and the only change I've felt in myself is a further reaffirmation of an identity I've always had and barely thought about - that of my nationality. As well, being English is a defining part of my identity to every French person who meets me, and consequently that affects how I see myself. Something happens to remind me of my foreign-ness every single day.

(Although having said all that, it has rubbed off on me a little bit. Biting into a pain au raisin yesterday, I thought disapprovingly, "This doesn't taste home-made" and made a mental note not to patronise the boulangerie any longer. I also no longer see anything ridiculous in spending over 5 euros on a box of tea).

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