So it is Friday in France (as well as everywhere else) and because there is a saying for every situation I thought I would use the most appropriate one… “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” Now even though today is just another Friday tomorrow is a Saturday with a lot of potential for fun. Tomorrow is July 14 or Bastille Day here in France, for those of you who do not know it is their Independence day. As an 18 year old girl raised in the suburbs of Chicago, I have spent all of my fourth of July’s at the lake house with the grandparents (sparklers in hand) watching fireworks on the boat or BBQing with friends at big backyard parties. This being the first year out of the states during her oh-so-deserving birthday party, I think tomorrow I will let my hair down and do a little celebrating (even if it is for the wrong country).
The traditions we have as families, communities, and countries are very comforting, especially when you stay in one place your whole life. The moment you decide to step outside your comfort zone is the moment you “lose” those traditions. Obviously they will always be in your heat but as for physically carried out, they go away. Losing these traditions goes hand in hand with losing that comfort I mentioned earlier.
So here I am left in a foreign country with a big hole in my heart, wanting to chow down on a chi-town style hotdog and nap on the couch with the numbingly awful but always comforting cubbies on TV in the background. But lets be honest I am not just going to sulk around my smaller then a shoebox apartment, no no no.
Here is where the words of wisdom come in from before “When in Rome….” Though it might not be MY countries holiday, I will celebrate it like it is my own damn birthday. When we are faced with vulnerable situations like missing out on things back home or feeling like an outsider at the disco-tech on the Champs de Mars my best advice is fake it until you make it. Dance like a french kid ( I learned you can spot an American girl dancing from a mile away…we are the ones with our arms above our heads flailing around like fish out of water). Smoke a cig (one wont kill you). Drink wine with OUT the American intention of getting “fucked up.” Speak as much French as you possibly can even if all you know is OHLALA (it is a great start). Make it a goal to introduce yourself to at least five native speakers ( possibly take a few numbers home (: ).
The point is even though I am a 9 hour plane ride from the comfort and safety of my mom and dad, that is not an excuse to stop living or stop trying. The world has so much to offer each and every one of us. Why not go out there and take what we can?