A French 4th

5 Jul

When you are thousands of miles away from the backyard barbeques, the fireworks and the beach you have a moment where you actually find yourself missing those things (even though I told everyone I didn’t). For me, the 4th of July was always one of those holidays that I took for granted, but deep down that I really loved. I’m a sucker for a good bbq – to have a hot dog in one hand and a cold beer in the other, it doesn’t get more American than that (note: bbqs here consist of nice wine and sometimes unidentifiable pieces of meat – although amazingly delicious). I remember one distinct thing about the 4th of July in the U.S. – it’s my dad always saying, “if you’ve seen one firework, you’ve seen them all” – dad, I can tell you when you don’t see any on your nation’s birthday it just isn’t the same! However, as all chameleons do, we blend in and make the most of where we are, so in my case it was a bit of luck that about two weeks ago I was at a party where I met the president of an association here called Act4 that gets people together for lunches, dinners and other fun events in order for people to practice their English. I decided to join, and their first event was a 4th of July dinner at a New York-style diner call BIEH (short for: the best I ever had). Since it was technically my holiday, the president asked me if I could help with the animation. I ended up making little American flags that had facts about the U.S. and the 4th of July (did you know that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the same day – July 4, 1826) and another animator printed a map of the U.S. where we had to fill in the states (let’s just say I need to revisit Geography 101 – embarrassing!).  The group is made up of French people trying to keep their English intact or English people who speak French all day yearning for a little piece of home; and then there’s me, trying to avoid all French situations (I also joined the group that only speaks French, but you see I haven’t posted about them yet). Then, just when I thought I was the only American there, another one showed up – I must admit his name threw me off – Sven (he’s the one pictured in the center) – but when he walked in he had California written all over his face. His mother is actually French (he’s a dual citizen) and he’s here doing an internship with the American Chamber of Commerce. After he introduced himself, I leaned over to the president of the association seated next to me and said, “one day that will be my son or daughter – only with an American mother.”


2 Responses to “A French 4th”

  1. Paulette Fennewald July 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    I wish I could think of something really cleaver to say, but Courtney, we just love you and enjoy these posts so very much. Happy Birthday to us, and Viva la France too..Paul and Paulette


  1. Rouge, Blanc & Bleu | French Press - September 20, 2012

    […] In any case, the first event I was a part of was Act4′s July 4th party, which I posted about here, and after that the head of the club asked me if I wanted to be a bit more involved in the […]

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