Being half-French and growing up in France is not the first thing i usually tell people about myself when I meet them in person (except if you've run across this blog, but that's another thing altogether). I don't have any French friends here, and i really ought to go seek some out because i do yearn to speak French and do "French things" on occasion. i might join the Alliance Française; who knows.
however, in the past few years, i find that if i tell people i grew up in France, i come across as pretentious. i think it's because i dont have an accent when i speak English (which is a shame, really; i adapted too easily), so some people naturally assume that i'm full of shit. this kind of used to bother me, but the older i get, the more i dont care. i find it rather amusing now.
when we moved to Maryland in 2001, my sister-in-law was friends with a man whose future wife was a self-proclaimed francophile. i looked forward to meeting said future wife, because she apparently spoke some French, and unless i'm on the phone with family, i don't get to speak French very often. imagine my surprise when i was introduced to the girl and she shunned me. i thought, Here's a chick who spent a high school year in Provence, whose house is full of stupid touristy so-called French crap (eiffel tower trinkets, posters of rolling fields of lavender, the kind of slum - as my Dad calls it - you'd never find in a French household), and upon being introduced to me, turned her nose up and looked away. now, why is that?
i dont get my feelings hurt anymore because of people like her. i just deem them not worth being friends with. i have come to a conclusion though (and i'm not sure that i'm right, but it seems to be the only logical conclusion to describe her behavior; and most importantly, it satisfies me). before i met her, this woman was the center of attention amongst all of her friends because she was "worldly" and "cultured" and had supposedly spent a fair amount of time in Provence, which is where my mom's family is from. and here i come into the picture, and i'm a threat. even though we have different circles of friends and i'm by no means an attention whore when i'm out with people, she saw me as a threat to her carefully planned French aura. her mother was much the same; when a few years later i was invited to the girl's baby shower (shocking that i even got an invite), her mother's house was overly-decorated in what she called "Provençal country" style. i tried to initiate conversation with the mom, without sounding the least bit cocky or snobby, but no go. the minute this woman found out that i'd actually grown up in France, she would no longer have anything to do with me.
weird how people are.
end rant. back to the regularly scheduled program, e.g trying to find liquor store that actually carries the Beaujolais Nouveau today.