Friday, April 29, 2011

My Life in France - The Tough Stuff

Happy Friday all!  I actually started packing just a tiny bit yesterday.   whoo hoo for me!  And then my husband leaves this morning for a long road trip. hmph. Go figure the last two games before I leave are really out of town!

Oh and I wanted to tell you about this awesome giveaway that is going on today!  The Pomegranate Basket is having their first giveaway over at Craft Couture.  I think you should all check it out!!  Why do I care so much, you ask?  Well The Pomegranate Basket is totally awesome!  And the cute lady, Tammi.  She's my mom.  So you know she's awesome! :)  So show some love :)

I know I said I was gonna write about interracial, intercultural marriage.  But honestly, that's a big task and I just wasn't feelin' it.  So maybe next week. Or maybe not. I don't know.  Okay, on to today's topic.
A lot of people are fascinated by our lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, it isn't always in a good way.  Sometimes, probably more often than not, people think I am crazy.  Because people don't often think about the things that might be hard for me or different or crazy. It sounds romantic to live in another coutry, learn another language etc etc. And for me it is. I choose to like it. But don't be fooled, it is not easy. Let me break it down a bit.
St Etienne, our city this year



























I have two kids. Mothers out there know how hard it is to raise kids. Most of the time we have other mothers around us, and back home I do too (but thank God for facebook!), to help us, give opinions, and offer different suggestions as to rearing kids. I personally love it, once it is offered in a humble, loving way, bring it on! Here I don't have that. I don't have people who think the same way. I do know other moms and might ask for advice, but I am not sure we are raising the same type of kids. I want my boys to grow up strong and independent and able to 'handle business'.  These kids have binkis at the age of 5 and higher and it is just weird to me. They also have their little favorite toys and they are called doudous.  Yes, you read that right, and it is pronounced that way.  And they have them until they are in grade school.  France isn't exactly known for the toughest nation... But who knows, just a thought.
Tae and his cousins at Halloween '09

Think about a grocery store run. Easy, right? Just run right in, grab what you need and bounce. Wait, I don't know where it is. Okay, how do you say 'where is the peanut butter?' Wait, they don't have peanut butter here, how do I describe peanut butter? 'beurre de cacahuètes'? Il est quelque chose american, il s'appelle peanut butter?' (it is something american, it is called peanutbutter) Yep, not so easy anymore! Now, lately, I am a lot better at my French that I don't have problems too much any more.
Okay, so I have a few friends who do not speak english. We have nice conversations and I am getting a ton better. But here is the absolute worst:  I am trying to explain something and they just stare at me. They cannot understand what I am saying. What? Seriously, you can't understand? Man, am I that bad? I was so encouraged with this whole conversation, and now I feel as stupid as ever. Or, here is another one. They make a joke in French, but I didn't get it, and I laugh just to get out of asking what they meant. But then they catch me with the fake laugh. ugh stupid again. Or I studied at home and thought I learned something new and then I try it with my friend.  She stops, stares, and then says in French 'I know what you were trying to say. It's just wrong.'  Um thanks.


Or when I get Tae from school and the teacher asks me or I have something to ask. It is hard.  It is just every day things that people wouldn't think of that I have to.

Obvisouly the hard things like missing family and friends back home. But that isn't so hard for me anymore.(sorry mom!) I love my family. But I know that someday I will be back living close to them. And when that day comes, I will enjoy it. But I don't want to spend my time here wishing I was somewhere else. How silly would that be? I want to experience everything and make sure I have no regrets from the time we lived here.

Oh and down side of learning another language. I am already a horrible speller. Now with learning another language, I can't spell anything. So disregard my mistakes. And I can't find words in English sometimes, like it is hard to sometimes put a sentence together because I think in French too.    

Don't worry, I will do 'a good side' installment!  Oh and happy Royal Wedding Day!  I so wish I was there.  So close and yet so far...

16 comments:

Megan Wynn Volnoff said...

Keep your chin up!! You are doing a great job!! Just remember to live for the moment and love your babies. No one said love made things perfect... it just makes it easier and worth while!! You have a beautiful family!!

MiMi said...

Okay, so right now it's 3:09 pm PST. What time is it in France then??
And, girl, I seriously think it would be more hard than fun to live in France. I really don't think I could do it.
Espeically if I had to say douche for shower or whatever.
Does Tae go to a school where they all speak French????

Nicole said...

Your mom has a blog! That's awesome! I'll have to check her out! I am sure living in another country has it's ups and downs. I actually work for a Canadian company, of which a lot of it's workforce speaks french. It's crazy. I love it but I am lucky that I am in the U.S. and don't have much contact with that part of the company. I am sure learning another language is hard. You are such a strong woman girl!

Jennifer said...

Wow! I didn't realize how big your city is!! Yes you are doing a great job!! And I admire your attitude about liking where you live and not wishing it were somewhere else. You're being a good example for your boys!

Barbara said...

You just described my life, anti-doudou and all! Hang in there and remember there ARE other mothers that are facing the exact same things you are! I remember saying I cooked all my son's food because I didn't want preservatives and they laughed because "preservatives" in french means condoms. Who knew? Good luck with your move back to the states. I'm a bit jealous!

Jaimie said...

I luv that Halloween picture! :D too cute... New follower from FTLOB #FabFriendsFridays

Babes and Sages said...

I totally know how you feel. I am so thankful that I at least don't have the language issue since my English was already great when I moved. I couldn't do it with French. I had 8 years of French in High School and not much stuck. I hated it ;) There are a ton of things that I miss but I honestly wouldn't want to have it any other way right now. I am happy with my life even when it's not perfect and I bitch about American health insurance, Donald Trump for President??? or the fact that they still have gender specific fitting rooms in some stores... I miss real bread with crust and delicious cakes and pastries. I miss other foods that I can't get here but all in all it's nothing that would make me take off and run back home ;) at least not yet... lol

We are strong women and we play the cards we have been dealt and make the best of it :)

Ada said...

I can't imagine how tough that would be! I was never brave enough to live in a foreign country where English wasn't the main language. Kudos to you. I really admire you for being willing to take on a second language!

XLMIC said...

So glad I stumbled upon your blog! Found it through the Storytellers Hop :) We just returned from a 2-week trip to France... just long enough to NOT have the honeymoon phase wear off ;-) Which I can imagine it does. Your story about how your friend told you what you said was just wrong... reminded me of my husband and his attempts ... "La pomme ne tombe pas loin de l'arbre" ...LOL... they looked at him like he was from Mars! That expression does NOT exist in French. Sounds like you are doing a spectacular job of making it work. We do have that "live abroad" fantasy... and it is so good to hear real-life stories :)

Jessi said...

Hi! I'm a new follower from the Storyteller Blog Hop. You have such a great blog.

I can't imagine how hard it would be when people can't understand you and you can't understand them. I think I would get frustrated. But one day you'll be perfect at it, I'm sure. :)

I can't wait to read more in the future!

Grammy Goodwill said...

You're right - I'm guilty of only seeing the good side of living in France - the easy part. Kudos to you for going with your husband and giving your children this chance to experience another lifestyle. Hugs to you, too.

patience said...

sounds tough but it's half good attitude and you've already got that locked down!

Kelli- AdventurezInChild'Rearing said...

new follower- i had the opportunity to live in paris for a couple of months- years and years ago! it was a great experience & i am thankful - but i was also ready to kiss the ground upon my return to the states & it was only a couple of months!

Broot said...

I totally understand. I thought our move from Canada to New Zealand would be easy because, hey, both countries speak English, right? Ha. Nope, it was still learning a whole new culture, learning all new slang, jargon and jokes (I still don't get it sometimes!) and constantly being the outsider just because of my accent. Never mind that I have my New Zealand citizenship now, I'm still a foreigner. ;) I can imagine that it's even harder having to learn a new language.

But I think the best thing about it is now I have a better understanding and empathy with other new migrants - especially those who don't speak English. I know how hard it is!

cestlavie22 said...

Just keep positive that is what the blogging world is for to find support in areas you might not have it at home. Headed over to your moms shop and those thank you notes are adorable! I would enter the giveway if I had an excuse for those lovely creations lol!

Lindsay said...

Hey, I ran into your blog on SITS, and I am SO happy I did. I recently moved from Canada to Denmark with my Danish boyfriend, so I can totally relate to some of the things you are going through (learning a new language, foreign grocery shopping, easy access to travel other Euro countries). Aside from the good stuff, it can be super difficult, and I can not imagine doing it with two little kids! I love blogs with similar stories, as well as extra fun, not related to foreign life stuff. Can't wait to check out more of your blog! PS: Your family is frigging gorgeous!

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