''You're from where? Vozool?''
'' No , VE-SOUL''
'' Where the hell is that? By the sea? ''
'' No, it's in the East''
The french lady I'm talking to is staring at me like I'm a bloody foreigner. Let me think. That's about HOW I FEEL anyway.
'' I 've never heard about Vee-zool'' she replies naturally.
Yes, it's way easier to be French in a foreign country ( even in England) than being from VESOUL in your own country. At least , everyone knows where France is.
Yes, I did move back to my country, FRANCE. How many of you thought I would not do it?
You know I like challenges. But this one was about as hard as working an a farm with scorpions and wild pigs in the Malaysian jungle with no electricity for 10 days.
10 days in France....
I've done about everything a foreign tourist would have done at my place. Except that I AM NOT a foreign tourist.
I'm a totally stupid blonde who seems to have never taken the train , bought a baguette with Euro coins or sit in a restaurant eating for more than 10 minutes.
Yes, I did have to read the menu in English because I did not understand the words in French. ( I was drunk too )
Why so complicated ?
'' delicat Poisson et sa legere sauce aux marrons' ( delicate fish and its light chestnut sauce) ' is still just bloody fish in your plate, innit .
And they did not even have snails or frogs.And they call themselves F**** French.
When you ask what the point of all this fuss is to the guy who kindly invited you to one of the best restaurants in town , you look like a total bitch.
Best excuse : '' Sorry , I ve lived in England for so long''
( Appologies almost accepted . That was close)
And how many kinds of bread do they have anyway. So you basically need 10 minutes to go buy your bread in this country.
They even ask you how long you want your baguette baked for.
Helloooooo I just want BREAD.
Let's face it, I have totally lost my Frenchness.
The worst thing is? I can't even watch a political debate for more than 2 minutes without getting totally freaked out.
'' Why are these people so angry?'' I ask the same poor guy , whom I happen to live with . ( I'll give him a medal one day , he does deserve it but don't tell him that , he could take it seriously , he's french, you see)
'' WE ARE NOT ANGRY , WE ARE EXPRESSING OUR EMOTIONS''
Mmmm even that sentence was too much for me .
'' OUR WHAT?''
This is not really something we mention much in England you see... These emotions thingy.
I told you once that there was such a thing as '' National Energy'' . That I get sucked in to it wherever I go ( '' The citizen of the world '' syndrom)
It results in either a '' wow, Annabelle, how do you capture the Spirit and understand the culture of a country so well?''
OR that :
'' Annabelle, you are WAY too emotional, you should see someone about it''
'' Annabelle, You have big problems expressing your emotions , you should see someone about it''
The prefect balanced place should then be....... SOMEWHERE BETWEEN FRANCE AND ENGLAND
'' Chill out mate , let's go to the beach''
When people ask me where I want to live , I DON T KNOW WHAT TO SAY !
Seriously I was totally lost for 10 days.
It's like I was not totally in a foreign country as I was able to speak the language ( although I ordered my sushi in English in the local japanese restaurant , which probably made the guy 's like so much simpler) but I totally missed the point of it all.
I felt like I lost my memory and I pretended ( very badly) to remember it all.
No, I did not care about good food, good wine or politics. I was still a Brit in the inside.
When you go abroad, you always compare your own country to the country you're in ( Something about insecurity) . Normal.
But when you catch yourself saying '' You french people are weird because in my country....'' and you still have MADE IN FRANCE tattooed on your neck, you simply look like you're going mad ( As a writer , everyone knows how mad I already am anyway, so it's cool)
What country was I talking about? Depends on my mood.... England..... Australia..... No , I did not miss the past in those 2 countries, one of my strong point is in the moving on but I just totally lost my landmarks... in my own country.
Believe me or not, I finally settled back in. ( until I had to go to Paris for one whole hour but that'll be another story) I went back to being my good old French self .
Hang on a minute. That's the same one as in England. Or Australia. Or anywhere. I m exactly the same person....