As American as Apple Pie

Captain America © 2011 Samuel Michael Bell

Yesterday was my second Fourth of July here in France. Expatriates around the world know the feeling: you’re in a place that’s become your home, but on a day like the Fourth, the separation from your homeland feels wider and the differences seem more pronounced. You seek out a way to feel as “American” as you can, no matter how far from America you are. And we all have our ways of doing that …

For example →

Last year, I decided to seek out an historic American bar here in Paris and toast America’s birthday with the drink special of the day: The General Washington. Unfortunately, it didn’t go exactly as I’d planned, and it almost ruined my day. This year, Michel and I decided instead to celebrate by having a picnic on the banks of the Seine with a group of our friends. We asked everyone to bring something quintessentially American or, in the alternative, to come dressed as an “American.” Knowing this particular group of friends and their penchant for dramatic flare, I was sure to have material for my next blogpost. Continue reading As American as Apple Pie

A Love Lock?

As a hopeless romantic, I just love anniversaries, and Michel and I celebrate a lot of them: the day we met … our first real date … our engagement … our marriage … the first time we ate ice cream together (okay, maybe that one is an exaggeration—but just barely). We don’t stop with anniversaries, though; we even celebrate the “monthaversaries,” as in “Today is 17 months since … blah, blah, blah.” Some of my friends used to joke about my monthly spate of Facebook dedications, but they’ve grown awfully quiet these days. They must have all just suppressed me from their newsfeed. After almost three years together, I guess marking monthaversies had become old-hat.  So, a few weeks ago, I asked myself: “Why not celebrate a different date—some unusual milestone?” Well, geeky hopeless romantic that I am, I did the math and determined that today—February 12—marks one thousand days since we said those magic words to each other for the very first time:

I love you.

Je t’aime, aussi.

Pretty good idea, huh? But how to celebrate? Well, living in Paris definitely puts the pressure on you to come up with something extraordinary. Paris doesn’t have a monopoly on romance, of course, but there is something magical about this city that can turn the most ordinary of moments into a scene from a sappy romantic comedy:

(Don’t skip the video! It’s really cute.)

So what did I come up with? A crêpe sucrée? A crème brûlée? Beret shopping? Well, no. I didn’t want my little Phineas to miss his cue, so I decided to get a cadenas d’amour

a “love lock.” Continue reading A Love Lock?