Tuesday, 31 March 2009

La plus etrange des etrangeres...

One week into Easter Break in France.

Essentially, this has been a discovery of significant proportions.

Isa + France = Culture.Shock

As in woah.
As in:


Technically, I should feel right at home in Cholet, France (Place of my birth and yearly visits to see my Grandmother, 'Memie', whom I love love love). I shouldn't have a problem with the language, I should know where the shops are, have friends to hang out with.

Nyuh. huh.

So I'm the girl who has no 'Home Culture', who doesn't know who that celebrity is, what that song is about, or what the answers are to the 'easy' questions on 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire'.
Excusez mon ignorance.

2. My 'Accent'.

My family, bless their soul, insist that I don't have a foreign accent when I talk in French.
So why is it that that kind shop-lady who sold me an amber bracelet looked at me like I was an alien and said... "You're not from here are you..."
Hah. You try explaining that you're 'technically' one of them but have never lived in the Motherland and have more stamps in your passport than they can name countries in South East Asia...
So... and I hope this won't come back and bite me in the rear... I told her I was English.

And that, my dears, is what I would describe as the beginning of the slippery slope of lies on my nationality.
I'm from wherever you want me to be.
Mraow ;)

3. Fake Patriot.

My uncle who was staying at gran's this past week believes in the undeniable superiority of 'our Breton race'. [Breton = person from Brittany... look it up on wiki]
Because of this 'realist' perspective of his, he's basically already planned my wedding.
To a Breton sailor with blue eyes and incredible bone structure only Bretons possess (he does have a point there...) That would all be fine and dandy and haha that uncle of yours is so funny, Isa...
But he's actually serious. Actually, actually serious.
In fact, my family members have told me what instruments they'll be playing at this Breton wedding of mine. Mentals.
Now I know where my crazy comes from...

Back to the point - why is it that I support full-heartedly support Japanese patriotism on its culture and food, English patriotism when it comes to sport (but we all know how well that doesn't turn out most of the time)... but when it comes to French patriotism on home food/ race/ culture... I stay shtum.
Better stay quiet than say the wrong thing. Faking French Patriotism would be too exhausting.

4. Reminiscing.

Gran's house. Full to the brim with memories of my prepubescent days... Photos of every single trip my parents and I took together. Barrier Reef, Montessory School in Boston, Castles in Saumur, France, Windsor in England... and about a gajillion pictures of isa when she was sooo damn cute in that 101 dalmations jumper (I also had a matching towel).
Then bam. Age 11. Move to Thailand. End of things I want to remember.
Including the awkward mono-brow, braces and head-gear, knobbly knees and bangs I cut myself - phase.
Thank the Lord for puberty.

In the basement of Gran's house is everything my parents and I ever owned until the move to Bangkok. Including the pottery I made of a fox... with a blue tail because I couldn't find the black paint, my *cough* Bar *cough* bie *gag* collection. My favourite was Ken. You can take that however you want, he's a total doll.
I found my train-set a.k.a the best Christmas present I've EVER had.
And some pretty fit clothes of my mothers from the early 80's. Shoulder pads, massive gold buttons and tweed in every colour.
Pictures of my parents in their 20's. I guess I'd forgotten they'd been kids and teens too... or that they'd done other things in their life apart from get married and have a daughter.

5. The Same. Over and over again.

Trying hard not to sound jaded... but places don't change.
Those butterflies in your stomach about going back to somewhere you haven't been in a while - they're lying to you. The place will be the same, the people, the daily routine, the things on tv, the food...
Conversation. The same. Over and over again.
And to me, that's what makes moving and travelling around just that much easier.
Never being anywhere for long - it gives you a really twisted perception of what 'a long time' is. For me it's that 'same-ness' between places that scares me into wanting to go somewhere else.
Most of my friendships haven't had time to go into those amazing X-hour conversations on anything and everything and I blame myself for that.
Apart from Japan. We were all on the same page - we had to be. It takes the same kind of person to be ready to leave everything behind to study in Japan for a year. To you all, thanks - it's rare to naturally have that 'thing' that makes you want to/ able to risk missing that feeling of 'home' and going somewhere where you have to build everything from scratch.
Thank you so. so. much.


And so, I have 2 weeks left in France. Revision, doing everything possible to help Gran around the house, and catching up on that French Patriotism I've been missing out on.

They are the mission, figuring it all out is the cause.