love in french
30.04.20 | 10:35 pm

when i told people that i was going to live in france for a while, the majority of them made some sort of comment like this: "oh, you're going to find yourself a nice french man and never come home, aren't you?"

i never really bought into that.

sure, i made jokes. i said things like, "my dream is to find a french man to marry so we can have cute bilingual babies."

but at my core, of course, i knew it wasn't going to happen.

at this stage of my life -- age thirty -- i believe many people are looking for someone who knows what they're doing or where they're going. someone who has at least a vague idea of where they'll end up.

after all, as was brought up to me multiple times, why start dating someone when they're definitely leaving in a few months? when they might not come back? when they don't know where they'll be next year?

however... i can't lie and say i didn't have fantasies about it. i imagined a man with me in my apartment. we would wake up, say our sweet good mornings in french, and roll out of bed to make breakfast together. or we'd lie on the couch, watch a tv show with either english or french subtitles, hold hands or lie with our bodies slung across each other.

and i had bits of that. pieces. i had boys in my bed who would tell me about their tattoos or what they wanted to do someday or what they wanted to eat. i had conversations where i struggled, but excitedly, through this foreign language and where a boy listened intently and added his own commentary. i had someone's hands run softly through my hair while we watched a tv show, after i had massaged his legs, and we laid there together while netflix (in french) hummed in the background.

but i initially imagined it all in a specific way that hasn't played out (of course). i imagined myself being so confident with this person that i would try different, unfamiliar words or sentences in conversation, and that they would giggle, correct me, and lead me to a better understanding. i imagined that we would spend one day talking in english so that they could improve and one day talking in french so i could improve. i imagined that with this adoration, no, this love as it would surely be, my language skills would grow, my confidence would soar, and we would strongly grow together because of this strange linguistic tie. we would learn about each other as we learned and taught a core piece of ourselves and we would gain a deeper understanding of the world around us at the same time.

obviously, we'd eventually have cute bilingual babies, and spend our summers in whichever country we didn't choose to live in.

but next month (i hope), i am going home, alone. just as i'd come. just as i'd expected.


when i look back on these musings, i find it interesting that, at its core, what i was really imagining was a way into this language, a way into this culture that fascinates me, a way that would allow me to be accepted in another space. something that would somehow prove my worth, something that i could be immensely proud of.

the man, the love, that would be great, sure. but it wasn't at the heart of what i actually wanted.

and what it comes down to is this: i don't need someone calling me "mon chou" with their hands placed on my hips in their kitchen right before they lean down to kiss me to be proud of the progress i've made while i've been here. i don't need that to progress even further, either.

i can do it on my own.

<< | >>