I’m from a small town of the region Auvergne, can’t define any better than deep down rural France. Where cows have outnumbered people.
Conveniently, for some people I get the label “European”.
I do tell people that I’m French but apparently, for many, that’s only relevant if I we are talking about Paris, wine, or food — or for those that are trying to get personal, controversial or testy: try politics, silly stereotypes (“So, how often do you bathe?”), and more recently, the World Cup. Au secours !
When I first landed in the US, attending college, I was in an exchange program with foreign students from many other countries. Our fellow American students quickly associated the Germans with the French, the Korean with the Chinese, because, you know “Europe” and “Asia” are common denominators — and from that perspective, I’ve never felt more European.
Don’t get me wrong, in some respect, it makes a lot of sense. But if you scratch the surface, the conversation will quickly reveal what defines each nation’s unique, remarkable traits.
Luckily I live in an area where people are well-educated and don’t offend my roots too much. Though at times, I’ll hear things like “So, is Paris in France? Or is France in Paris?”. And no, they’re not kidding. Some people are just clueless.
I’ve taken things a step further at home, covering the bathroom wall with a map of the world, right next to the throne. Occasionally, I’ll quiz my hubby on world geography.
It’s okay not to know, it’s better if you’re willing to learn.
Perfect example: I am still not on top of my US geography, but I am hopefull I can catch up by the time my son goes to school.