Being French in the USA

My family has remained in France as long as I have lived here in the US. I’ve had occasional visits from 3 siblings and even once my mom when she was alive but no one decided to move here to be near me. They love France and are happy to be there. The French think France is the best and anyone leaving is breaking the cord so to speak! I have been in the US since 1975 and got married here and had 3 children and 1 grandchild.

My remaining 6 siblings are all living in France right now and thanks to the internet communication is a lot easier these days. Recently this year we lost my youngest brother in a sudden car crash in England – it wasn’t his fault! That event put real fear in my whole family. A lot more bonding has taken place between all of us because of this unfortunate and sudden death. We are trying so much more to stay in touch! I have an iPhone and so do a few of my siblings and my brother told me about this App which costs 99 cents and you can text anywhere around the world for nothing! How cool is that!

On the phone with my oldest brother, we were able to talk about his passions in life and I discovered he really loved riding his bicycle. I got myself a new bike and have been really enjoying riding it around here in Maine where I live. It’s beautiful here and I am blessed. I have done over 200 miles since that day and am planning to do a lot more when I feel better. I am sick right now with the flu and feeling really yucky….fever and all…and here I am writing a blog!

The holidays to this day are the most difficult times of the year for me. Traditions here are all different from where I grew up! For example birthdays are simple in my family and they are a family event…no parties with 40 people etc. I still to this day like small gatherings, not huge celebrations. We had 25 people at our wedding in Carmel CA!

On Christmas Eve we would gather in the living room around the tree with real lit candles clipped to it and we would sing all together christmas carols. That was a very spiritual time for me even though I wasn’t really into church or any religion. Maybe that was the only time I felt connected to God as a child…it certainly wasn’t in the catholic church in France which felt to me like a tomb! That night we would leave our shoes in my parents bedroom (how convenient!) and when we opened up their door on Christmas Morning they could stay in bed and rejoice with us as we opened our gifts. It was a simple but yet a very bonding time. It felt real and profound at the same time. Here in the US I feel I am just celebrating a commercial holiday and all my children were born in the US so they caught the culture and it’s nothing to me like what I experienced as a child or teenager.

After living in the US for now 37 years I still have a french accent and most people think I am german! I only know a handful of German words! When I go to France They speak to me in English when I go buy a magazine or something… It’s frustrating because I feel like I do not belong anywhere. It can become quite unsettling! In the natural realm it feels like I don’t belong anywhere…..

You might say…move on lady, let go, enjoy what you have now! Yes I try to do this but there is always nostalgia inside my heart, a hole that no one trying with all their might can fill! I have grown closer to God since I have lived here in the US. I know him as a personal God who loves me unconditionally and wants to hang out with me. He thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread even with all my bumps and bruises.

It’s a great relief to know you don’t have to be perfect to be accepted – something I learned here!

Its great to know you can just be and not have to act up anything in order to fit in!

I have learned that I do not fit anywhere except in my Father’s arms. My earthly dad passed away many moons ago but my heavenly Dad is here for me every day.

You might say – so what! what difference does that make when you are lonely? A lot of difference is the answer……. I am never alone again!

Below you can see me and some of my siblings holding hands. We had a real family! I miss them!

Hope this little bit will help someone get through a tough time. It helps me when I write. Today everyone is at my granddaughter’s soccer game and I am sick and writing this article….

There is always more to life to discover and I can’t wait to open the next Gift God has for me……

2 thoughts on “Being French in the USA

  1. Susan I love your heart too, thanks for a very wonderful and insightful comment. I specially love what you wrote: “But all the I-phone apps, Skype, and email can’t replace the act of just BEING together, with each other” That is so true and I never quite saw it that way! I also spend much time online and certainly can relate. i.e I just got an order for a wedding…bridesmaids, bride, mother in law, mother etc. It was so wonderful for me to meet this bride and her mother in law for a change as my business is online and I never get a chance to actually talk to these people. So that was a real treat.

  2. I LOVE your story, Jeanne! I can feel your heart.
    You’ve nailed it on the head, I believe, why so many people feel isolate and alone. We are born to live in our element… surrounded by the ones who love us the most. You are very fortunate to have had a loving family who to this day are intentionally bonding.

    But all the I-phone apps, Skype, and email can’t replace the act of just BEING together, with each other… seeing the same sunsets, the same views.

    This weekend my mom and sister and nieces and grandniece are all together, celebrating a birthday. We all live in the same country but hundreds and thousands of miles away.

    When we do get together, there is a greater sense of identity, for me… like just knowing that I belong. My roots are definitely in the place where I was born! I can only imagine the sense of not being rooted in your own heart, especially when you return home and you are treated like an American! Or when you’re in America and you’re thought of as a German!

    I believe God made us “tribal” people and for that reason, I’m really questioning our modern lifestyle… that of families living so far apart from each other.

    I love your story! I love how your bicycling, picking up a passion of your brother’s! I love how his spirit is living on in you… and how you must be feeling closer to him, in some way, through bicycling across country.

    I wish we were close, Jeanne… I would join you! I bought a used Trek bicycle last summer and it rides so smoothly! Maybe one day….

    Anyway…. I LOVE your story!!!!

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