Thursday, July 06, 2006

Happy 6th of July (Sorry I'm Late)!

Allez Les Bleus! Allez Les Bleus! Let’s Go Blues! I realized that if I’m exposed to the same sentence over and over again everywhere I go for hours on end, I actually can learn French.

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As many of you know, France has made it to the final round of the World Cup championship. And this Sunday Les Bleus face the Italians in the final match. Fred and I watched France v. Portugal in the semi-final game last night at a bar on Boulevard Saint-Germain. We were joined by a couple who were visiting from San Francisco (friends of friends, who we now consider friends after some serious bonding went down as we walked to the Champs Élysées chugging a bottle of wine that they had purchased the day before on a Burgundy wine tour). I had always wondered what it would be like to travel to Europe as a care-free college student. Last night was probably the closest I’ll ever come to knowing.

At around 2:00 a.m. Fred and I found ourselves on Place de la Concorde, the metro had stopped running and we didn't realize buses were an option until we were nearly home. We would have had better luck hailing a cab on New Year’s Eve in the rain. Thus we started the long walk home and 2 hours later, after a few failed hitch-hiking attempts, we reached our apartment. We did manage to secure a ride for our friends. A 20-something couple kindly offered us a ride, we let the tourists take it as there was only room for two (plus the driver looked a little sketchy and I couldn’t stomach the thought of Bilbo being orphaned).

I really was having a great time. Soaking it all in. Before me a sea of people engulfing the Arc de Triomphe, next to me cars bursting with jubilant teens waving the French flag, the makings of a stage for the Bastille Day ceremonies partially erected on the Concorde, my euphoric French husband holding my hand. But, there was a part of me that was sad.

Sad because the 4th of July holiday had passed without a barbeque, without my friends or family, without my country (I made some deviled eggs and popcorn for lunch that day – the combination of which made me nauseous). Sad because I realized that if Fred and I decide to have children, they won’t have the same traditions and memories as me. It’s highly unlikely that our kids will smell lighter fluid and think of an old black Weber charcoal grill, play Paul Revere in a school play, or know the Pledge of Allegiance. Sad because in all the festivities of France’s victory, I realized that our kids likely will prefer le football over baseball (that's Fred up there on the far right, by the way). I love warm days, big beers, hot dogs, and the crack of the bat. It’s much more than watching a baseball game, it’s the feeling that comes with it. That little bit of Americana.

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I’ve also thought about the possibility that our kid could have an accent while speaking English (Fred believes this is inevitable). I don’t like the idea of that. I want my kid to speak like me (except for all the "likes" and "you knows" and "ums"), especially if I’m the one doing the heavy-lifting to get the kid here. I guess I could home school the child. We’d start every morning with the Pledge of Allegiance and he or she would be awarded the lead role in all theater productions. Our social studies class would take an annual trip to Washington D.C. I’d even offer French as a language elective (but only to appease Fred, and he'd have to teach it). I feel much better now. It’s late and I'm going to bed. Thanks for listening!

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, if the kid visits Aunty Dina during the summers, I can guarantee you an American/Chinese/Filipino/Mexican accent by the end of the visit and that he/she will know all the right cuss words in each of those languages. Plus, I'll make sure to stuff a hot dog/chasiu bao/lumpia/taco down the kid's throat. Now THAT'S an American experience!

David said...

If the kid visits Uncle David, I will have them reciting the starting lineup of the 1988 World Series Champion L.A. Dodgers by the end of the summer. I would teach them the lineup of the World Series Champion S.F. Giants, but I guess the Giants would have to win a Championship before I could do that, huh? :-)

No worries, Amy, we will Americanize your kid for you no matter how far away you are!

Anonymous said...

There are also American schools in Paris, from kindergarten through university... It is a bit expensive, but maybe an option....

sfgirl said...

Lookithowcuteyouare! I played softball too, and still have my glove. We can start a little league team, teach them to swing a bat and feed 'em hot dogs. Lots and lots of hot dogs. We'll keep their baby bottle of beer in the little foam cup coolers. It'll be swell.

Cooks on the ROK said...

Came across your blog by accident, but love it.
If it makes you feel any better, I married another American (a Marine and a Virginian), we have 2 kids, and I can still guarantee you that their memories and traditions won't be the same as I had growing up. And it's not an entirely bad thing.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog this morning and it made me sad, because all those traditions are so special because it is what we grew up with, the memories of my dad lighting the fireworks and running out for more if we ran out, my mom's homemade apple pie, and all the great bbq's in Fullerton CA. with Mary and you and our friends. But I know there are special memories for everyone no matter where they live. Funny I was picturing that picture of you and then I scrolled down and there you were., Mom

Amy said...

I read you all the time (found you through Lim Babies--I have twins, too), but this is my first time to comment. First, I want to say you are hysterical. I love reading your accounts of trying to acclimate to your new home. Today, though, your entry made me a little sad. I never thought about raising kids somewhere outside of America (or anyone's home country, wherever that may be) and the implications that would come with it. You'll just have to bring them to visit your relatives as frequently as possible in America and pack a lot in when you are here.

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your writing.

Mary said...

Well shit howdy, Amy! All you have to do is send the little cowpolks to Auntie Mary and they will have more Americana then they can handle. We do America big time here in TEXAS. I'll have them shooting, eating beef and wearing boots and a big old Stetson in no time. They'll be too afraid not to love their mom's country. I'll send them back speaking English with a Texas/French accent(won't that be pretty). I'll make sure they know that Texas is bigger than France too.

We saw the most incredible fireworks display in Savannah, I'll e-mail you some pics of the fireworks. Good luck today! We will be cheering France on at 1:00pm our time.

sfgirl said...

i brought this up w/ the husband after reading your entry and he says that our kids will probably not have that typical accent because the only people with whom they'll really speak english here in france are other Americans. whew.

Anonymous said...

If I can warp Joe's niece in a mere shopping trip or two, think what fun I could have with your little ones!!
They say it takes a village (or at least all your crazy friends) to help raise your children.
And what a great excuse for you to get back to the US more than once a year since your babies' aunties and uncles need to impart their great wisdom and unique traditions! At least three times a year is necessary. So plan accordingly. :-)
love,p

Cynthia Rae said...

This post touched my heart, as I was having the same types of thoughts this past 4th of July. No matter how hard I tried to make the fourth feel like a holiday, it wasn't because in Italy it ISN'T. This got me thinking about children I don't even have yet, and what kind childhood memories they will have compared to the ones I have from America.

In the end, no matter how hard I will try to teach them about their American culture and history, they will be raised in Italy thus making them Italian. They will live in an Italian culture and speak English with an Italian accent (even though they will half American by blood). This is just the way it will be.

That being said, we will still celebrate all American holidays, they will learn English along side Italian and be taught American history even if it means I have to be the social studies teacher.

And once in a while we might just have to make the journey across the pond so we can celebrate the fourth of July in America.

Cyn

Expat Traveler said...

yeah I guess I miss the 4th also. At leasst the lack of fireworks until the end of the month in vancouver...

Looks like we are at that same sstage for thinking about kids... I see where you are coming from.

Great post!

Laura said...

Dude,

All us 'mericans will stick together and make sure our kids growing up a la Francaise will have a good dose of American patriotism stuffed down their throats via hamburgers, fireworks, red, white and blue clothing,etc.!! Don't worry -- it'll be fun!!

Sarah said...

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