Past life: Living in France 2008


Have I mentioned recently how insanely fortunate I am to have had these 89 days?

I have LIVED IN FRANCE for three months! It was truly an amazing experience, and Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation are responsible for my time here (especially the kind folks of District 7980).

My goals as a scholar were to learn the language (as much as possible) and the culture because Rotary thinks that knowing other cultures leads to understanding amongst different peoples and peace. I could not agree more.

During my time here, I have tried to accomplish the following (and have, with various degrees of success):

  • dispel any incorrect myths about Americans
  • help them understand why we do some of the things we do (when possible…some things, like why we elect certain people or chose certain people as our running mates, are inexplicable)
  • understand some of the reasons behind particular habits, traits, and customs of the French
  • ask lots of questions so I can understand the why of their habits, traits, and customs
  • be an American who is appreciative and respectful of and curious about their culture versus an oblivious American who expects the French to know English, is uninformed about the way things work in France, and all the other things that annoy Americans about foreigners on our soil
  • learn as much French language as possible
  • take millions of pictures and videos and copious notes and simultaneously share with everyone back home who’ll listen so more people can get a taste of what France is like beyond seeing the Eiffel Tower and Sarko every once in a while on TV

89 days.

Time’s up.