Wednesday, 13 August 2014

two months later....

In an effort to avoid writing this post, I left comments for other bloggers whose blogs I haven't visited in a long time. This blog used to be my lifeline...but now it's been over 2 months since my last post !  I'm starting to think that maybe it means I'm finally settling into my expat life, mother of 2 bilingual children, etc etc.

Lots has happened in two months. I'll try to go through it little by little in a logical way...and maybe I'll even save some for a separate post.

The school year came to an end with the most wonderful experience I've ever had in the French school system. I got a thank you. An actual, meaningful and wholehearted thank you and a beautiful bouquet. Since my kids started school, I've gone into their classes every year to do English. Last year's teacher didn't even say a simple merci so I was understandably peeved. It's not for the glory that I do it but still...so this year's experience was much better. The kids and teacher were great. That was in November. At the kids' end of year performance (the most amazing kids' performance I've ever seen - the kids did synchronized swimming in the school's gym. it was hysterical!), the teacher said she wanted to thank a few people and I was one of them. I was so touched. Madame D restored my faith (and hope) in the teachers my children will face in the future.

Then in July, I celebrated 17 years in France. That's almost half my life and a very long time for someone who first came to spend 3 months here. I realize that the longer I stay here, the more American I feel but the less American I become. what I mean is that I cling to certain things and to my American identity, yet I'm so detached from American society that I can no longer relate to all things American. Do you know what I mean? And I think it's the American part of me that's kept me afloat this year because it's been a tough one (or two).

I didn't talk about it at all on the blog, but I've been fighting depression the past couple years (more life a mid-life crystallization than a mid-life crisis)  and this year I finally got my head above water and I was swimming really hard! In fact, I overdid it this year. My goal this year is strike a balance between family, school, friends, work, volunteering, teaching, exercising...oh wait, I think I already lost.

And on that note, I'll end this post. I actually want to give an update on my bilingual children. But if I do that now, I may not post for another 2 months.

4 comments:

Jan Exner said...

"I realize that the longer I stay here, the more American I feel but the less American I become."

That is absolutely spot on!

I have lived in three places in the last 17 years, but no longer in Germany. I have exactly the same feeling about me being German.

I guess there is nothing we can do except accept it. It may not be a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy you've posted on your blog again. I always enjoy reading it. I am especially eager to read more about your kids' bilingual development and also about your teaching English at their school. I'll be volunteering with my kids (who are home-schooled for now) to teach English at a local maternelle this year and it's a bit daunting. Ideas would be most welcome.

I'm sorry you've been feeling low. Maybe your depression has nothing to do with this and I am off the mark but I have had some very rough periods myself since moving to France nearly half my lifetime ago. It is an enormous, often traumatic, never-ending adjustment to live as a foreigner! Especially here, I think. I sometimes think of it as a great leap into dark, cold water in which, if you don't drown, you have to struggle to keep afloat every day for the rest of your life. Sending you lots of warm cheery vibes... Keep swimming!
Another American mom near Paris

Nicole said...

It's been 17 years for me as well. And I understand exactly what you mean - American and yet...

We are moving to Luxembourg this summer, we'll see how that changes things for the boys and me.

As others have said, keep swimming, doggy paddle when you have to! We are never as alone as we think we are.

L said...

Couldn't agree more on the "the more American I feel but the less American I become".

I was just in England for 10 days and when I said I lived in France I got a comment "Oh but your English is really great," to which I replied "I'm American actually." The woman than said "Oh right, now I hear the American accent." I couldn't believe no one picked up automatically that I was American and some people even started talking about TV personalities like I was British. I thought I had "American" stamped on my forehead, and especially evident when I didn't speak with a British accent, but apparently not...

And glad to hear you're managing your depression. It's always hard to blog about difficult subjects when the final outcome is so far from sure.

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