There are some books you read that touch your life for years to come. One of those for me is Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull. Sarah was an Australian journalist who moved to Paris to marry her love, Fred. Although a gregarious person who had traveled, Sarah discovered that France is unique. In an interview with "Paris Through Expatriate Eyes," Sarah says, "I think a lot of foreigners come to France, knowing they're coming to a foreign country and naively don't expect it to be that different." For Sarah, it seems the biggest challenge relates to being a foreigner married to French person. She is not French, but because she is married to a French man, she is not a member of the expatriate community. She explains that, "I had Fred and being with a French person, sharing your life, you are thrown into the whole French culture. You can't avoid it. You're not really in an expat world. I think some foreigners would like to be more integrated but find it quite difficult. Although as you have suggested it's often easy to have pleasant, engaging spontaneous conversations with your neighbor at a café, forming friendships takes a lot of time." After many years, Sarah begins to feel Almost French. For me, Turnbull's book is an engaging and honest memoir of taking risks and living life as an adventure. My memory of it was a motivating factor in deciding that I could take myself to Paris. If Sarah Turnbull and Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) and Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun) can travel alone, then so can I.
While writing this post I discovered some interesting web sites which I link to above and highlight here.
Paris Through Expatriate Eyes
The Official Web Site of Elizabeth Gilbert
The Official Web Site of Frances Mayes