I have been struck lately by several blogs I’ve read by other Americans living in France who seem to be having an entirely DIFFERENT experience than the one I have had. I don’t think I’m overly “Pollyanna-ish;” I think I’m honest in my assessment of my neighbors and friends, etc. But all of these blogs seem so negative about the French. I truly don’t get it.
For example, a friend sent me a link to this blog,which is written by an American living in a small village, just as I do. I was truly surprised by the attitude she describes.
I’ve been coming to France for 30 years and have known many, many different French people in that time from all walks of life and from all corners of the country. I have NEVER felt “dissed” because of being American; I have NEVER been treated as if my ideas didn’t count; I have ALWAYS been welcomed and listened to.
And, it’s not only blogs like this one that have surprised me; there was a really nasty article in the other day that irritated me a lot. I was going to leave a comment, but didn’t feel like registering on the site so I could do it. I put the writer’s experience down to it being Paris, but I wonder if it’s not just that she has really snotty friends…
When I lived in L.A., I tried to make French people that I knew understand that America was NOT New York or Los Angeles, and that there were as many cultural differences across the country as there were between France and America. I try to help American friends understand that Paris is NOT France and that waiters in cafés are as likely to be performing their “shtick” as anything else, and behave the same way to French patrons as American ones. But I fear it is a lost cause.
I am really trying to understand the experiences of both of these writers, but I must admit that I find that difficult. Could it be a question of personalities? That is, do I blind myself to slights because that is just the way I am? I really don’t know, and I do hope that my overall positive experience isn’t setting some other person up for failure if they don’t find the same attitudes on their visits to France.
Ciao for now.