Thursday, July 17, 2014

you're taking your family to France!

Don’t think about the money--five overseas plane tickets!  Gulp.   (Plus twelve nights’ lodging!  The rental car, the trains, the restaurant meals, the unavoidable souvenirs!)  Don’t stress about how to juggle two children, two car seats, a monolingual husband, a smart and feisty but hard-of-hearing and hard-of-walking grandmother, and all your luggage (which will, you admit to yourself, probably double after you visit a couple of used bookstores).

Instead, revel in the fact that you are returning to France for the first time in nine years.  Nine years!  Nine years in which you have kept speaking French whenever you can, even after you left your teaching job to raise your family.  Six and a half years of speaking French to your baby boy--who is now, astonishingly, a first grader--and your baby girl, growing up so fast and so slowly at the same time.  Nine years of a tiny Francophone bubble in your home in the big American world.

All those years of only speaking French, your hard-won non-native tongue, with your dear ones, even though English would have been so. much. simpler.

Now you can finally immerse your family in the language!  Your children will see that more people than maman, their playgroup friends, and T’choupi speak and play and cajole and question and explain and argue and whine in French.  You will sit on a bench in the Jardin de Luxembourg and eavesdrop as they play tag with their new pals, and your mother will sigh contentedly and laugh at their antics, and your husband will tell you he’s proud of you for teaching your children another language.

And then your children will ask you for a few more euros so they can take another ride on the carousel, and your husband will suggest that you stop by that fromagerie on the way back to the apartment, and your mom will greet every passerby with a big American “Bonjour!” as she writes postcards to her friends back in the midwest.

And you will know that the expense is worth it, and that you won’t wait nine years to come back again.

Besides, Griffin and Gwyneth already have a natural affinity for frogs.


  1. Bon Voyage ! Can't wait to hear about it and see the pictures!

  2. Hello merry-go-rounds! Can't wait for the stories. Bon Voyage!!

  3. Salut ! We went to Paris last year and loved Jardin d'acclimatation, with many retro activities, that's where Parisian children go while they're in Paris while their parents are working. I'd love to see pictures and read your stories!
    Marta, Barcelona

  4. I can't wait either! We will definitely try the Jardin d'acclimation.

    And, Marta, in a few years, maybe we will be able to visit Spain, and Barcelona is a must-see!

  5. How exciting! Can't wait to hear what your children think about a whole country speaking French!