Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Culture shock?

I didn't realize how easy and how hard it would be...both the trip "home" to New Jersey and the return "home" to France. I'll admit, I'm having a really hard time with this culture shock thing. And can I even call it culture shock when I've lived in the country for over 15 years?

The first thing that hit me when I arrived in NJ was how easy everything was. A number of times, I got my back up and put my cat claws out, ready to fight. Yet, I never had to. People are helpful and listen, not like in France where it's a constant fight to get anything. On my third day in NJ, I had to go to the bank. I had forgotten my French credit cards in my wallet back in France (so much for simplifying things and changing wallets for the trip!) so I went to get a copy of my US cards. And do you know what? It was actually pleasant experience. "Of course we can get you card, Rebecca" where as in France, the response would have been more along the lines of "c'est pas possible, Madame." I left the bank feeling happy...

Most of the time in the US was nice. The kids loved summer camp and I would highly recommend it for anyone in my situation. Max went to the nursery school mornings for two weeks. The first week in the US, he didn't quite get that English was the community language. But it clicked once he began daycamp. Suzanne spent a week at half day camp at a local school. The second week, I put my little girl on the big yellow school bus and she spent all day at a local lake at a YMCA camp. The camp did everything it's supposed to: swim lessons, nature appreciation, arts and craft and personal growth. The last bit is astonishing; after only a week, my daughter's confidence level tripled.

As for me, I had time to work on my personal projects and think a lot about being American. I also realized how very French I've become. And, just maybe, it's not such a bad thing. For instance, I have become ultra polite to the people working in stores whereas many Americans don't even make eye contact with people in stores. I also realized that I was constantly prepared for a fight...and I finally let down my guard after a couple weeks.

for now, I'm just trying to ease back in and keep myself afloat as well as make it through the Lille braderie, the 10k race I promised to do, interviewing babysitters and the rentrée...

PS I will do a seperate post on places we visited with links to some good stuff and another one on the kids' language development.

1 comment:

Tallulah@Bilingual Babes said...

How lovely to've had some time back 'home'! I look forward to your post on your holidays & how the kids are getting on with their French & English :-)

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