It’s been more years than I care to remember since I moved away from my hometown Toronto. I first landed in Paris back in 1992, armed with little more than a rudimentary grasp of the French language and an unabashed love of its food and wine. Oh, and my husband, who is French, although he was a happy expat and would willingly have lived his whole life away from la patrie.
Although I now speak French fluently, my accent lingers on. At best, it’s a faint hint of my English mother tongue, which the French find quite charming. After a long day or a few drinks it’s considerably more pronounced (and less charming): mistakes in grammar, syntax, or just saying something inappropriate that signals to all and sunder that I am not from here.
Over the years I’ve picked up a lot of my adopted country’s culture: eating foods that still bear traces of their origins, drinking fuller-bodied red wines and in general, becoming slightly less polite than most Canadians.
Still, I often feel like a stranger in a strange land. Those ‘beam me up, Scotty’ moments tend to occur whenever I go shopping, drive my car, hit the gym or basically go anywhere in public. Daily, in other words. Misunderstanding, then frustration, ensues. Along with a few choice gros mots.
Now I’ve moved to German-speaking Switzerland, a wonderland known as ‘Innerscheiz’, where I intend to share new linguistic adventures and, with this blog, capture some of the most memorable moments to share with you.