Wednesday, August 31, 2005

vivi's first year in france

It was one year ago today that I stumbled off a plane in Paris with my newly-minted husband and began my life as an immigrant.

Naturally, I celebrated by going to the gynecologist.

More about that in another post. In retrospect, I suppose this year has passed rather quickly, though I didn't realize it at the time. I kind of feel I'm no better off than when I started, but Steph assures me that I'm doing better than I think I am. Seeing the doctor alone this morning and holding my own in a conversation is not something I could have done last year, that's for sure. I've come a long way, but I still feel like I have a long way to go. I'm so looking forward to the time when I'm past this awkward learning phase and I can look back and laugh about how hard and frustrating it was, but I'm not there yet.

Obviously, the hardest thing I've endured all year was losing my mother in May. I knew from the outset that being so far away from family would be the most difficult aspect of this journey, but I never imagined something like this would happen so soon after my departure. All I can do is take comfort in the fact that she at least knew and genuinely liked my husband, and she knew how happy I was. It's small comfort, but it's something.

As for Franco-American relations, I can happily report that everything is going just fine. Any frustrations I feel are those I put on myself - I'm not patient and I want to speak fluently now, but I don't feel too much pressure from outside sources. What I predicted a year ago has come to fruition: I have always known that for the rest of my life, I would be Steph's "American wife," and that suits me just fine. I kind of like the fact that it gives me a pass to ask questions that others take for granted. I don't feel pressure to conform, or "be more French," and that's probably the best gift the French could give me.

Well, that about sums it up. In just two days I'll celebrate the first anniversary of this jumble of words. I'm sure I'll be gushing all over again.

PS I received a postcard from Eastern Europe today, written in French, and I can't read the name. Anyone know anything about this?

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