I was not prepared for how difficult it would be to explain to French people what “to be thankful for” means.
Despite using words like bonheur (happiness), apprécier (to appreciate), and aimer (to like/love), the message wasn’t getting across.
Eventually they did come up with 5 things they wanted to say merci for having in their lives, even if they didn't fully grasp the concept.
Thanksgiving classics Frenchified: La Purée Americaine, Le Stuffing, and Les Hauricots Verts. Recipes here.
I’m going to make Thanksgiving dinner again this year (check out my France friendly recipes), and thought I’d share with you 5 things I’m thankful for in my French life.
1. FBF. Without him so much of France’s culture would have stayed a mystery, and I would have felt even more of an outsider. I’m also grateful that he’s able to listen to me complain about France sans arrêt, be my translator, endlessly explain cultural quirks, and still love me. It’s amazing.
2. La Belle Famille (FBF's family). They are my family in France. I’m so thankful that they invite me to all family gatherings (birthdays and holidays) not just for the exclusive access to real French family life it gives me, but especially because they are all so nice, welcoming, and generous.
3. Mes amis. One of my goals when I came out here as an assistant was to make French friends. I feel like I have accomplished that goal with flying colors, and am so thankful for the French friends in my life. But my life out here wouldn’t be complete without my fellow American expat friends who share my love-hate relationship with this beautiful, yet frustrating country.
4. Tigrou. FBF’s cat has filled the pet-less void I was living in before meeting him. I love cuddling le chaton (kitten, but he doesn't really qualify anymore as he's 11. We still call him that, though) and am so thankful that I can have a cat without actually having a cat.
Me with Tigrou. He's named after Winnie the Pooh's companion, Tigger, only en français.
5. Lille. I’m so glad I got placed in this city. It has opened my eyes to just how diverse a country France is and helped me realize that Paris isn’t France, it’s in France. There are many things that differentiate each region from one another, and I love all the things that are particular to les ch’tis: une culture de la bière, les grands places, les baraques à frites, l’accent, les beffrois, et les briques rouges (the beer culture, the big squares, the French fry caravans, the accent, the bell towers, and the red bricks) among other things.
What about you? What are you thankful for this year? Are you going to use my awesome Thanksgiving-in-France recipes?