As I lived abroad for more than two decades, I came to miss France.
In many ways I became more French while living in the United States.
It didn’t help that I made a living teaching the French language and culture or that I spent considerable time each week writing about and discussing French life with an online community of francophiles.
All the sights, sounds, tastes or smells I took for granted while growing up in France became noticeable, special, extraordinary even, whenever I was in France on a vacation before returning “home” to the US.
I moved back to France eventually and in spite of challenges I could not have anticipated, I have not looked back in the last 4 years. This never fails to surprise some of my countrymen prompt to assume life is greener on the other side.
These days I consider myself lucky I can once again enjoy those sights, sounds, tastes or smells any time I want to, and I never tire of them. It’s as if all my senses were sharper now, a trait that comes in handy in this line of work: sharing my native culture with francophiles.
These thoughts ran through my head as I recently stood at a street corner where part of my childhood took place in a small town outside Toulouse.
Years have gone by, and the town may have changed (some) yet the sights, sounds, tastes or smells along that small street are so unmistakably familiar, they put a smile on my face in the middle of a sad weekend.
“The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back.” (Wendy Wunder)
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