We set a date and decided to meet up for tea. We set our rendez-vous for 14h at Republique – Beaux Arts. I knew she would have her little baby boy with her, but other than some tiny pictures of her on her blog, I wasn’t sure what she looked like.
I started getting nervous about us not being able to find each other, as la place de la Republique is rather large. But like two people destined to be friends, I recognized her, with a little help from her stroller, straight away.
Suddenly a new fear gripped me. What was I supposed to do now?
In France, when meeting someone new, you are meant to faire la bise (touch cheeks and make kissy noises). But since neither Amber nor I are French, I wasn’t sure what to do. Should we faire la bise despite being Americans? Should we embrace our Americanness and shake hands? Should I go for a hug as I feel like I already know her somewhat from her blog?
Was I to follow Barack's or Michelle's lead?
While all this indecision was running wild in my head, Amber took charge. She leaned in and went for la bise. I followed suit.
Immediately after the traditional French introduction, we started jabbing away in English at 1,000 words per minute. I hadn’t felt so comfortably American since I moved back here.
When we finally said goodbye, however, we switched back to the French way of life and did la bise again.
This must be what it means to be a true expat. You have to be able to keep your feet in both worlds.
Although I wouldn’t mind if all us Americans in France got together and agreed on how we want to go about greeting one another from now on. Anybody else game?