Our Never-Ending Quest to Understand the French


France and I have a complicated relationship.  In true French fashion, our love affair is passionate, mysterious, and unpredictable. Never easy. Never calm. But rewarding.

In the past six years, France and I have dealt with an abusive exchange family, a stalker, a drug-addicted exchange sister, broken suitcases and broken hearts in airports, with the soundtracks of Vanessa Carlton, Amélie, and Frightened Rabbit painting my emotional background.

And while some of the worst moments of my life occurred in France, so too, have some of the best.  Quiet Sunday mornings, stretched out on striped sheets, watching an early light filter through smudged, cracked windows, a hazy Eiffel Tower in the distance.  Or traveling through the Parisian underground on metro rides, observing the faces come and go, a mosaic of emotions and cultures condensed in short spurts of morning rushes.  Eating dinner at an 11pm sunset while sipping wine under the southern stars of Bordeaux.


I’ve met wonderful people, such as my French au pair family last year, along with a couple feisty Canadians, who all genuinely cared for my safety and happiness. And in some ways, while wandering alone through le Marais or boarding trains with strangers to Normandy, I’ve met myself in ways I never could have at home. France is the lover I’ll never forget.  We’ve stayed together because no matter how often I’ve tried to let it go, France lures me back in with its lights and wonder–its French effect.


So, in order to grow as a writer, further explore my French love affair, and share my French love with everyone, I would like to announce that I will now be writing and editing articles for MyFrenchLife.org as a “Content Crafter & Editor Intern.”

Let me just take a quick second to say I’M SO EXCITED!

My French Life is a fantastic online magazine that delves into the trends and cultural quirks of a country so many of us find alluring.

Their About Me description is as follows:

It was a simple thought that began it all: are others as fascinated by France as me?

Fortunately for us, naturally curious people don’t simply leave these thoughts alone. And if there’s one thing Judy MacMahon (Fondatrice of My French Life™) has learnt, it’s that where there’s one curious person, others with inevitably follow.

The result is our online magazine and global community of Francophiles, French natives and expats. We’ve found that there are so many passionate Francophiles who yearn to have a deeper understanding of the intricacies and paradoxes of France and the French lifestyle.

With the dream of one day being locals, we’re seeking out the insider tips that will take us from tourists to savvy travellers. And when we’re not in France, we want to live and dream in French.

Most of all, we want to challenge our thinking about France, and what it means to be French.3506388

I used to see my complicated relationship with France as a particular “Alex quirk,” but I’ve come to realize many people who live the French life share a similar experience.  From books such as A Year in the Merde to I’ll Never be French, No Matter What I Do, a multitude of people feel so frustrated and enamored by the French that they feel compelled to write entire books on the traumatic yet blissful experience.

Beyond ourselves though, beyond our personal French adventures, consider the French culture itself. Consider the early Roman influence, the Celtic history of Brittany, or the collision of regional differences. Consider the heavy Catholic influence, still affecting the quiet Sundays of closed boulangeries, coupled with the French Revolutionary War’s lasting effects and a social need for a true separation between Church and State.


And then we have different kind of revolutionaries. Take Coco Chanel, for instance.  With her raised hemlines, abandoned corsets, and unmarried life, Chanel made more than clothes; she made a statement–a statement of liberation and independence for women that reached the shores of America and forever altered history.

There’s much to explore, and if you’re interested, I’d highly recommend checking out My French Life for more.

Paris is always a good idea
Paris is always a good idea

I will, of course, continue blogging every week.  If my coffee addiction proves anything, it’s that I don’t let go very easily once I’m hooked. And trust me, I’m hooked on Bon Voyage, Mon Cheri. However, you may also now find my articles on My French Life.  I’ll see you there!

*This is not a promotional post.  These are entirely my own opinions and I won’t receive anything by gushing over My French Life.

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