Counting our Blessings in Bordeaux
Trip Start Sep 02, 2010
77Trip End Jun 13, 2011
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During our time in Paris and Bordeaux, I relished all aspects of French culture. I ate much more than my fair share of pain au chocolat, fromage, pain, glace, and moules-frites (well, they're Belgian, but adopted by the French). I dutifully drank my cafe and my vin. I participated in the daily habits of shop-goers: cheerfully singing "Bonjour, Madame!" when entering a store and then chirping the appropriate "Merci; au revoir" when I would leave
Falling back into my favorite French habits--and having so much fun with Caroline and my French family--was just what I needed after travelling for nine months. Being in France felt like being home.
Still, I couldn't help but view these French habits and homes from a new perspective. Being home in France means being comfortable and safe, and being (relatively) protected from unemployment. It means considering fresh, delicious food--and even wine and chocolate!--to be a staple in one's diet. It means taking for granted things which would be considered luxuries in many of the other countries we've visited. After a few days in Paris and Bordeaux, Dan and I found ourselves talking a lot about how lucky we were to be feeling safe: to be able to walk around at night and to not worry about someone coming in through our windows
Our trip has exposed us to all kinds of communities and various notions of "home," and at times we have felt uncomfortable or guilty or sad when we've met those who are struggling. We've tried to learn as much as we can and be of some help (or at least not step into the footprint of American cultural hegemony). But when we leave those communities...what then? When we come back to our own safe, warm, welcoming homes--whether they be in France or in America--I wonder how quickly we'll forget our blessings.