My France is quiet, with intermittent interruptions of revved scooter engines.
My France is the melting of chocolate in my mouth while buttery baked flakes fall in my hair and on my shirt. I don’t think I could ever get enough pain au chocolats.
My France is enjoying a halfway decent 2€ bottle of wine down by La Mayenne with some friends, laughing at all of the different struggles we face as teaching assistants and as expatriates. The laughter and the frustration never stop. They just simply change form.
My France is hearing the chorus of the church bells with the pigeon songs while my boots thump, thump on the cobblestone streets.
My France is the smell of freshly baked baguettes wafting past my nose as I tried to avoid dog poop on my way to work. Thankfully, I’ve only ever failed once.
My France is feeling the wind rush past my hair as I stand waiting for a train and having another one fly by to destinations unknown. The lady on the intercom always lets me know, us know rather, les Mesdames et les Messieurs, that said train is speeding by.
My France is knowing exactly where I am when I come home from bouncing around Europe because the voice recording over the intercom never fails me: Laval, ici Laval.
My France is never knowing if I am going to be ran over by a car or not but moving forward anyways, even when the little man is red.
My France is using terms such as trousers, bin, and jumper because sometimes American English doesn’t seem to exist in students’ vocabulary.
My France is using my French face to express what I’m saying and forgetting what my American hands want to say.
My France is strolls in Le Jardin de la Perrine on the weekends with friends, making sure to never walk on la pelouse interdite while saying hi to the ducks and the goats.
My France is being greeted by a château older than my entire country when I walk into city center to meet up at a café with friends.
My France is constantly having my umbrella in my bag because you just never know. Always be prepared.
My France is not having all of my students in class because a demonstration in front of la préfecture demands their attention, even when they don’t even fully understand what they are demonstrating against. Dommage, I had planned a really fun lesson.
My France speaks two languages, or rather three, if you count their own mixture of language, franglais.
My France is endless amounts of confusing paperwork, when all of my payments come out electronically but old school is the way to go if I decide to leave.
My France makes no sense, but my France is always an adventure.
My France is an endless mystery, one that I’m happy to have been a part of.
My France is my friend, but, it’s not Au Revoir, dear friend. It’s just simply A Bientôt!