As my most loyal fans know, we have had a few brushes with fame since our arrival in Besançon. We were all in the paper soon after arrival. Then André was on TV and after Obama won, we were on TV again.
But this time, folks, it was all about me.
It turns out the reporter who interviewed us a year ago has been following the blog and wanted to do a story all about it.
They came yesterday and I talked about an hour and a half on everything and anything – and the story was in the paper this morning. Not only was it in the paper – it was the first story in the Besancon section – and mentioned on the front page. OK, Haiti is obviously so much more important, but the orange box on the top right is me! Here’s a close up.
It means “The astonishing blog of an American in Besançon after 18 months”
Then, inside there was an article with a photo. You can see that at right… The top is all about me and the bottom is fun quotes from the blog. Of course it’s all in French and in fact I think the worst thing about the article is that they never mention that the blog is completely written in English. I am imagining hordes of eager new readers who are shocked when they visit and find all these non French words! I am so sorry. Je suis desolé!
But I’m not so sorry I’m going to start writing in French. Besides, if I did I would really need to apologize, for butchering the language!
Of course, some locals mentioned reading the article but the coolest thing was tonight--when we went out to grab gyros at the local Greek place--the man behind the counter recognized me. He even whipped out the paper to compare the photo!!! (Which, by the way I think makes me look wacko!) Bur being recognized was majorly cool.
So here is a rough translation of the article. It is the first time I’ve tried translating like this so I’m sure it’s not perfect. If you see a highlight it’s because it refers to an old blog I am linking to. But at least you can get an idea of the content, if you are curious…
An American in Besançon
Rebecca of Philadelphia, who has been in Besancon for about a year and a half with her husband and children, writes in her blog about her life and its surprises.
“Every day there is a new shock! There are so many things that are different than in my country. The way people see things, eat, think….”
About a year and a half ago Rebecca Dhondt left her home city of Philadelphia, her friends, her work and and her family to come with André, her husband, who works as a computer programmer at Temis, and her three small children for a far away and exotic country, France.
Only a few days after her arrival in the St. Claude neighborhood she began “Blundering in Besancon”, an online journal that tells about her daily life, that of her family and the shocks she faces with the way of life in her new world.
The subtle art of kissing
“Now, I write mostly for myself. I had never been a writer before but I was always a great storyteller.” So now she is telling the story of her life in France from the bisontin perspective.
The difficulties with the sacred traditions of France are full of surprises, and even traps. “When you walk down the sidewalk in Philadelphia, it is perfectly normal to say hello if you pass someone you don’t know. When I first got to France, I used to do this and people looked at me like I was insane.”
And then, there are other French subtleties, like, for example, the art of what Rebecca has dubbed “bizooing.” “There is a technique, often I can’t figure out which side to start kissing on! And it’s also funny here, how after you give a kiss to someone in the morning, you don’t talk to them again for the rest of the day, even if you pass by them in the hall or on the street.”
In fact, the thing she misses most here are ‘hugs.’ These are a sort of very Anglo-Saxon embrace that friends share. “The people here are very friendly and nice, but it is difficult to make close friends. I think tha t only happens if you have stayed a long time in their circle.” All the same, there are true signs of friendliness here. Her favorite place in Besancon is the little bakery of Alain and Annie on Rue de Vesoul because of the warmth of the staff.
As for her children, they are now basically little bisontins that have adapted to their new environment, although they still miss home. Recently, Zander, age 8, reproached his mother by saying: “Mom, you have ruined my life. When I am in France, I miss America and when I am in America, I miss France!”
Rebecca has the idea that maybe, one day, she might make a book about her experiences far from home with the Bisontins
Future USA best seller?
A dans quinze jours!
Here are some of the shocks Rebecca faces in French culture (I have shortened this section since they are all in former blogs which I have linked to if you want to visit)
- Deviations – Once you pass the first detour sign, there is no more help, you are on your own, baby!
- Quinze jours – This is what they say for in two weeks – but shouldn’t that be 14 days, not 15?
- Pommes – If you say a girl fell into the apples, it means she fainted
- La Poste (small note here that this was an André observation) Here it costs 80 cents to mail a letter but in the US only 44 cents. Where is the other 36 cents going? I know it’s not gas since the postal workers ride bicycles.
- Le casque – They use the same word ‘casque’ for both helmet and headphones.
- Continents – They think there are 5, we think there are 7!
Of course, I’ve done lots more observing than he mentions and one in particular ‘Things that make you go hmmmm….” might be of interest to French readers.
Nothing particularly amazing has happened from all this but in the past 2 or 3 days I’ve gotten about 800 hits which is a majo r ego booster and a few new comments. I even already some comments from people wanting to meet up – but they did not leave an email or a blog address. I WILL get back to all of you – but yesterday was Callie’s birthday party and things have been a bit hectic. All this fame has to lead somewhere right? Maybe fortune will fall on my lap as well. SO, if you want to reach me, or offer me a lucrative book contract or part time position teaching English to bisontins, you can email me at sistersrule60 which is a hotmail.com account. Or leave a comment – I love those. But no spam, please!