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December 17, 2008

I am sitting in bed, in my bedroom that I had as a teenager.  My parents have left my bedroom pretty much exactly how I left it six and a half years ago when I hopped on that plane to France.  The house is silent, the dogs, my parents and my sister are all at work today.  It is weird coming ‘home’ and not feeling really like I am at home.  The problem is, and I think that everyone has this, not just us expats, that I don’t really know where home is anymore.  I mean, my home, the place where I live, is obiviously my house in France.  But the US feels so foreign to me.  I don’t even know what to do, how to dress, or how to behave.  And so I wonder, where is home?

I do feel more comfortable in France then in the US (besides the family part).  Every time I come ‘home’ this phenomena takes me by surpise, everything is so different…  But at the same time I am extremely patriotic about the US.  And I am very proud of my orgins.  That is what makes me who I am.  But the US just doesn’t seem to fit right anymore.

For example, I hopped in my sisters car to run to the store for a notebook this morning (I still have my TEFL lessons to finish and need some paper to write on…), and driving the mile and half or so to the store, down a small private road, I couldn’t get over how big everything seems in the US.  I have always known that my house in France is tiny, but comparing it to homes in the US and I think that people would feel sorry for us!

I get by in France with little or no problems, I can pretty much do anything that I need to do without extra help, and if I don’t know I can figure out a way to ask and find out.  Last night on our way to my parents house with my sister, she was talking about all of the things that she does (like pay her bills on the internet, go to Vegas for the weekend), and it all seems so alien to me.  I went to the little Mom and Pop grocery store in town looking for a notebook.  And when I realised that they didn’t have one I was disappointed.  But when I look back and think about it, I don’t know what I was expecting, a mini Carrefour?  I grew up here, I lived here from when I was 5 to 17, I should know what they have and do not have and the creepy down town grocery store.  But, I don’t anymore!  A friend had a baby and it cost them thousands of dollars.  And the only thing I could do is stand there my mouth wide open.  The concept is so alien to me.  We can’t find a medecin traitant in our area, but when we need to go to the doctor, we have always been able to find one.  For a minimal cost. I guess what scares me a little is that I don’t even know how to live in the US as an adult.  I have no clue how to even begin getting a cell phone, electricity and all of that kind of everyday stuff.  I just would not even know where to start.  But for the moment I don’t really mind I guess, I don’t need that information today, nor do I need it tomorrow.  And if I ever did need it, I know who to ask…  my sister!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 18, 2008 9:49 am

    That’s really weird when you’ve lived in France and you take your first few trips back. After a while the funky feeling wears off but my first few visits back were exactly like what you describe.

    And the small houses! It reminded me of some American house sitters we had one year,– friends of my sister. They wrote us afterwards to thank us for letting them stay in our “lovely little apartment” It was a maison to us but an apartment to them! I thought it was funny.

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