For the sake of becoming French

Lately I've had some inspiring turn-arounds and a whole new perspective on life.
At 16 years old, I spent the summer in France, and another at 19 just before leaving on my LDS mission to Quebec. On both occasions I came back with a new perspective on life. Québec further increased my love for the French language, history, and culture (although the Québecois are not French, they share a history, characteristics, and beloved place in my heart).

The 2012 trip to France brought me a new self-confidence I had never known. I returned home feeling like a French girl in a foreign country. I did not want to return home to America. I fell in love with cheese, sparkling water, French baguette, bread in milk, yogurt with jam, cantaloupe. I returned home from walking, riding bikes, and letting my hair dry naturally. For the first time, I didn't feel like I needed to wear a lot of makeup to be normal or beautiful. I felt like France wanted me to be me. 

In 2015 I found myself off to France again, as well as Italy, Germany, and Prague. I was in heaven. At least the culture part of it was heaven. Packing my "turtle pack" around Europe with the four of us girls and cramming into itty-bitty living conditions with a high concentration of female hormones proved to be an interesting experience. But a memorable and life-changing experience nonetheless!
Mom and I came home determined to hang-dry our laundry. Mom insisted on separate courses for dinner, despite objections by Dad and the boys that dinner was getting cold. It may have been a silly attempt to be French, but it reminded me again of those wonderful things our European friends have figured out. It reminded me of my love for the European way of life. For so many things they do  across the sea... 
(Read more about that experience here)

And then I was off to Québec. Beautiful, wonderful Québec.. The most special place on earth, at least in my eyes. My friends spoke French, but not exactly. I'll admit it sounded more like Chinese to me the first time. Definitely more Americanized than France, but still so full of a uniquely different culture. I grew to love the people of Québec with all my heart. And not just the Québecois, either. People of all cultures and walks of life. Bosnia, Tahiti, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Honduras, the Philippines... I learned the beauty of a true melting pot, and I learned so much from every person.

Not only did I taste again baguette and real mustard, but I experienced a profound love of people. I came to love making friends and meeting new faces. I came to know God and his profound love.

But I won't go on too much about Québec. I could write about those joys for days.

These experiences changed my perspective. But the ideals and memories fall away so easily. In a land where mass production, plastic grocery bags, and frozen meals take the reigns, it is so hard to remember the beauty of that way of life. While a busy student, it is so much easier to live off of bagels, pop tarts, and popcorn. A sedentary lifestyle of driving to and from work, school, and the store.

But marrying Carter and moving to Logan has begun a healing process for my French heart. And recent events have just started it stirring.
Long story short, I am walking more, riding my bike, bringing my own bags to the grocery store, and hang-drying my laundry. Check.

I found this lovely book at the DI a few weeks back, which has revived the French movement in my heart. I've had a few crazy excited moments where I get these brilliant ideas to change our lifestyle and Carter is just a little nervous ;)

But it is wonderful. We are starting our own garden. I finally found a baguette recipe that works. 
I get to ride my bike to the grocery store. Life is looking up.

So with that little spark, I'm hoping I can use this blog to fan the flame. I'm hoping to embrace the European style in my life, and maybe help some others to catch the vision! And maybe refresh my French a bit as well. Facile comme bonjour, as Madame Thompson would say.


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