Feeling like a local

  1. Joining Associations (A – so – si – a -si – ons):  We belong to two games groups, and a sports group.  When we were walking amongst the choices in the multi-purpose room at the local gym, someone sitting at one of the booths said “Hello” to me in English.  I had never seen the man before, but I said “Hello” back.  He then leaned over to his friend and said, that’s the American family who lives here.  Nice.
  2. Doing something stupid that now everyone knows about:  The kids were having some trouble in their school last year, and I may have over-reacted (read did) and switched their school from public to private.  I was a little rushed in making the decision, and after the fact realized that moving them was a ridiculous choice, and tried to move them back, but there wasn’t any space in their grade level.  Now everyone at the school thinks I’m crazy. I have blamed it on being overly-emotional and on my previous school-choice guilt as opposed to just being dumb.
  3. Recognizing people:  We went back to the weekly games group in Anglet this weekend, and I realized what a comforting feeling it was for me to look around the room and see people I recognized.  I pondered whether or not this is solely a human experience.
  4. Faire-ing la bise:  I like this air, cheek, kissing thing.  It is super graceful and makes me feel good.
  5. Being invited to dinner by the neighbor:  We got immediate cred in the corner grocery this evening when our neighbor invited us to dinner.  She is very sweet, and a couple of weeks ago we were invited ’round to hers for an apero and got to meet her daughter and son-in-law who spend a lot of time in California.  They were awesome.  Kind and friendly, talented and artistic people.  They feel about California, the way we feel about France.
  6. Learning how to have a long dinner:  We still eat in under an hour when we’re at home, but we have been regularly having meals at our friends’ house.  They show us how to do everything from letting wine breathe to casually eating delicious food in courses.  We stay late into the evening and go home feeling loved.
  7. Shopping 3x a week:  We have a dorm-sized fridge and if we put too much in it, the food doesn’t stay cold.  I buy things as I need them, meaning I shop several times a week.
  8. Cans of beer:  When we haven’t put a beer in the fridge in the afternoon to cool for the evening, we sometimes get a 160z can of beer from the corner shop that’s already refrigerated.  Surprisingly, I do not feel like a loser doing this.
  9. Smoking is okay:  No it’s not, but it doesn’t bother me anymore, and I don’t look at French people who smoke as if they have some moral failing, like I look at Californians who do.  Judge-y.
  10. Knowing shortcuts:  I know where I’m going most of the time and the short way to get there.
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