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

“C’est Washington !”


In my last post, I talked about my family weekend—the one where I ended up feeling like a drunk bee, remember? One thing I didn’t mention in that post was one of the cutest moments involving my nieces and nephew from the weekend. Here you go … you’ll chuckle, too:

Saturday evening, we were at the home of my mother-in-law, whom I call Belle Maman. (I’m sure that to a French speaker like her, that name seems completely banal, but I just love that “mother-in-law” in French translates to “beautiful mother” in English. But I digress.) Anyway, before dinner, I was occupied with the kids: my 6-year-old niece Tiphaine and my 4-year-old nephew Romain. The more I get to know her, the more I think Tiphaine is a little like me personality-wise. She likes to play school, and she’s very good at playing the teacher. After searching for some paper and a pen, she instructed me to have a seat at the desk and draw something for her. No specific instructions, just something good. Continue reading “C’est Washington !”