The French aren’t the most demonstrative people I’ve ever been around. I don’t include my husband in that statement. I don’t know if he is “Americanized” by living in the States for ten years or not, but he is very sweet and he does show me that he cares about me. Even with all of that double kissing on each cheek that is exchanged whenever you meet a French person, it doesn’t seem much to have to do with warmth as much as just tradition, in my opinion.
When we first moved into our house in Provence we had several French couples over and after showing them around got sort of luke warm reactions which made me feel that our house wasn’t that great. Maybe we just thought it was but it really wasn’t. It wasn’t until we had some American guests over and they raved about it that my confidence in what we had created returned. Of course, the French think Americans rave about everything and that we aren’t often sincere when we do. Anyway, I don’t expect to get enthusiasm from the French anymore–and therefore don’t get my feelings hurt.
One day Maurice and I were having dinner at one of his relative’s. We were all sitting there having a drink and chatting. At some point everyone left the room except for one man and I. While we were there he starting asking me things about myself-how I liked Paris, how my French was coming, what I thought about certain things. He actually seemed to care. It was later, after we had left, that I realized that, while Maurice’s friends and relatives, all seem to like me and are friendly to me, not one of them had ever really tried to truly get to know me or engage me in conversation on more than a surface way. I think it was then I started to realize the difference between Americans and French. I may be wrong, but that is my take on things here. I save sharing my life and personal thoughts to when I am with other Americans, usually women.
One of my few negative comments on living in France. I really love it here in France, on the whole.