In Which We Are Not Like The French

Our dear guest Elise has arrived from France. She will survive her trip to the U.S.A. despite 100 degree weather to which she is not accustomed. That would be 37.7 degrees Celsius.

Waffles are not for breakfast and are especially not served with butter and syrup. Perhaps plain for lunch or with other various toppings at dinner. Bacon and eggs are also not for breakfast. Just bread and coffee, please. But the Ile Flottant dessert Elise prepared for us last night was made with 6 eggs and over a quart of milk.

Our roads are too big, our cars are too big, our stomachs are too big. We Americans are gluttonous, McDonald’s eating, environment killing, religious freaks. Yes, these are some of Elise’s many perceptions of this big country. I hope to put some to rest, but others will never be removed. Some for good reasons, others for deep-seated cultural differences.

This really is fun. As much as Elise has some serious French issues with America, she loves our T.V. shows, our music, our movies, our stars (as in Hollywood). We about choked when she said she listens to Snoop Dog. And so do all of her French friends. If that is her view of American music, God help us.

My husband let her borrow his iPod (filled with worship music), and upon returning it, she said, the music is nice, but it’s all religious. She has very strong barriers up to religion. As we passed a Catholic church in town, I said, “Est-tu Catholique?” “Non, rien.” She is nothing. Irreligious. Like most of France, other than the burgeoning Muslim population. I’m fervently praying for this very sweet girl, but rarely have I sensed such fierce opposition to God. Ah, there is a reason she is a guest in my home.

The Shriners are a sect which would not be allowed in France because they are dangerous. This observation came from Elise as we watched the 4th of July parade yesterday. Personal fireworks are very rare; most of the French enjoy Bastille Day (France’s Independence) with the city fireworks only. She was delighted with our little firework celebration at home.

Daily we discover ways in which we are not like the French. Sometimes it’s really funny (what, you don’t eat rabbit?), other times it’s troubling.

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9 Responses to In Which We Are Not Like The French

  1. Kathleen says:

    It is very interesting to see how we are viewed throught he eyes of another culture.
    As for Snoop Dog, I guess the French don’t really have the great taste we hear so much about!

  2. qtpies7 says:

    My husband and kids went to France as missionaries a couple of years ago. It is very difficult to witness to the French. They were able to do so at a camp to teach English.
    In order to really reach someone you have to form a very close relationship with them. They need to see something in you that they want and need. But they are very pessimistic about religion, and as you see, pretty much hate it, not just not care.
    Lots and lots of prayer for her to be open to the Holy Spirit, and just lots of joy and love for her to experience from you.
    My teens are heading for year 3 of studying French so they can go back as missionaries again.

  3. Jane says:

    How long is she visiting. What a great opportunity to see “religion” in a positive way. I hope she will go home with some seeds of God’s love planted in her heart

  4. Dana says:

    Ah, the contradiction of it all. I was informed many times in Germany what Americans are like. While they despised us because of their views of our foreign policy, they adored our music and movies. And while my American brethren were accused of superficiality, they condemned us by what they saw on television.

    I knew three French people from Bretagne. In a discussion about stereotypes, we (the exchange students from all over the world) told them about France. They laughed and said it was all true. But only in Paris. They were a lot of fun. The other French person I knew…well, let’s just say…nevermind. This is a family blog after all. But getting used to a certain, looser, moral standard in Germany did nothing to prepare me for him.

  5. heidi says:

    Jen,

    We have recently made a friend who is a missionary in France. He and his family lead a small congregation in le something or other. :)

    After talking with him some I have found a new compassion for the French I hadn’t had before. It seems much of their cynicsm comes from years of Catholic hypocrisy and a strong Socialist environment.

    All that to say, we’ll be praying for your family and her time and that her heart will be able to see Light. :)

  6. Jen says:

    Kathleen, yes, my view of the French style was knocked down a few rungs. I took her out to dinner at a local restaurant where there was live music – sort of folksy, blue-grass stuff, which I loved and she didn’t care too much for. But then again, she is fifteen.

    qtpies7, how fun to have that French connection! How will your boys be studying French? We can share ideas on learning French…my kids have been at it for 1 1/2 years now and are improving all the time. And it’s great to have Elise here to practice. Good advice on reaching the French, and so true.

    Jane, Elise is here just for the month of July. It’s our hope, too, that she will experience true religion here – the love of God in our family, and our care for one another. Oh, I guess I should stop screaming at everyone. :-)

    Dana, yes, the French appear to be famous for their paradoxes. Boy, I’m glad I just read your last sentence again. For an entire day I thought you’d said “prepare him for me.” Haha, glad to read that correctly. :-)

    Heidi, it’s always good to gain new compassion for people! It would honestly be easy to harden my heart against France, it can be such a dark place despite its reputation of high society. But how much they need the Lord. Thanks for your prayers.

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  9. Ang says:

    Hi, I was trying to look for info on homeschooling in France. I was interested in the http://www.presentfromfrance.com site but it seems to have expired. Do they have another site?

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