Monday, August 17, 2009

Dear France

Please take me back.

I know we've had our differences in the past, but I'm ready to put them aside and compromise if that will help. Look, even before I left I started speaking in French with my jerk specialist so that we could have peaceful office visits! Doesn't that prove my willingness to adapt myself to you and your needs? If you take me back I'll smile at every rude bureaucrat and Monoprix checkout lady. I'll even try to be more patient with the illiterate neanderthals who live in my small town.

Okay, okay, I know that last one wasn't sincere, we both know I'll kick that guy in the balls if I ever see him again (and that you would thank me for cleaning up your gene pool). Sorry, I'll try to avoid exaggerating.

But you have to help me out here. Everything here is so bland and boring compared to you. I know there were many times that I was lonely and bored when we were together, but then I could just hop on a train and be somewhere new in an hour. Here I could drive for an hour and be in ... Detroit. Or Canada. Or a wheat field. And there are so many more places in France I want to visit! I'll spend lots of money traveling if you let me come back, wouldn't you like that? If I throw some money at those selfish, constantly-on-strike SNCF employees?

Sorry, sorry, that was uncalled for. But you know it's true.

I got such a sense of accomplishment out of speaking in French all day, every day. I love speaking French. I have so much more to improve on! So much more to learn! Doesn't that make you happy? That I want to learn your ridiculously difficult gendered language? English is just so easy, there's no challenge, no struggle. Well, except for the fact that I'm still having trouble producing coherent sentences in English. Is that what you want? That I become better at English than French?

Do you really want to condemn me to life without your delicious, buttery pastries? I tried a croissant here the other day and it was not good. You are the only place I can get good croissants. Are you trying to force me to go back to Oreos and Ho-Hos? Really?

It isn't just culture shock, this isn't just going to go away once I get acclimated to life in the US again. This is a loss of the life I was leading, of a life that overall I really liked, and I want that life back. I don't want the life that's been here, waiting for me to come back to it. I want my France life back. In France every day feels new, I know I'll learn something new and make fun memories, I feel like I contribute something, I feel like I'm in charge of my life and my destiny, I feel that the world is literally my oyster (or my matzah ball, to use an allusion that's a little more halachic). Here is just so predictable, always the same, never changing, a place where I have little control over what happens, where my life is rolling forward on a path I didn't chose to start yet.

Would it help if I started eating listeria-infested raw milk cheeses? Or maybe if I made an effort to like flammekueche? Or even *gulp* some sort of intestinal product?

On second thought, I'm not willing to go that far. I don't like you that much.

Think about it. I'm confident we can work this out if we both compromise a little.

9 comments:

Leesa said...

What?!!! You don't like Actimed?! Ah mon Dieu!! That was pretty moving, Mir...
I hope that you can make it back here soon... I know that living in France/Europe is way better than living in the U.S. for various reasons, but most of all the typical "American" mentality.. Not that I was ever a part of that myself, I've always had an international mentality... But, I know that even though I had a great time on my vacation in Cali this summer and got to see and do the things I used to love there... it wasn't France...
France is your "home" - where your heart is.. I can understand that.. Even if you bash it all you'd like, it's still in your heart...
And, the French even start to "stick" on you after awhile, huh?! Anyways, I hope you get back over here.. Good luck and keep us posted...
Leese

Stacy said...

Ah I was totally there, where you are right now. Back in the States and missing France SOO much (though I'm from NYC, as close to Europe as you'll get in the US)-- which was odd b/c Paris drives me nuts and I couldn't wait to leave at the time. I thought it would wear off but it didn't and finally I just had to come back, if only for a little while. I hope you make it back too :)

Animesh said...

How about getting some toxoplasmosis.. would that be ok?

:P

au soleil levant said...

Leesa - thanks. I think for me the lure of France is how I see myself there as opposed to in the US... like I have more choice to do what I want with my life rather than here where I'm always going to the doctor and doing medical crap. We'll see what happens, I haven't thrown in the towel yet, even if it takes me another year to get back there :)

Stacy - thanks! I'm glad you got back to France, gives me hope that I'll get back there too

Animesh - at this point I think I'll take anything, sign me up for those cat feces :P

Eileen said...

Yeah, I know exactly how you feel. I guess my only real advice would be that if you do stick it out in the U.S., find a new direction or get something new in your life. Something sort of big but not necessarily radical. It's helped me.

=(

Zhu said...

France misses you too, I'm sure. You were a wonderful guest and I truly admire your passion for French language.

My passport is not for sale yet but I'd be considering you as a recipient. :$

au soleil levant said...

Eileen - thanks for the advice, it's a good idea

Zhu - thank you for your kind comments on behalf of France :) And for the offer to relieve you of your passport. If the day ever comes, you know you have a buyer!

Ksam said...

You could always apply to be an assistant again....I know a couple different people who've gotten the assistantship, renewed and then applied again from scratch from the US. (Might as well take advantage of the fact that the French only use a paper trail & not computers - besides, the worst they can do is say no!)

au soleil levant said...

I've already been thinking about doing that next year. We'll see how general life plans shape up this year. Thanks for the suggestion.