A Love Letter to my French Family

Whenever I get really emotional, it’s when I write best. Obviously it’s one of the best ways I deal with my emotions, and because I haven’t written anything personal in a while, I thought I’d take the chance to write this very moment while everything is still raw and hitting me like a ton of bricks. It's currently 1 AM, and I should be sleeping because I'd have to be up by 6:30, but what the hell, I’d rather pour out whatever it is I have to right now than risk tearing up at the airport later. I’m a very sensitive person, so trust me, there’s a 90% chance of tears — even just a tiny bit. (Update: I did end up crying a bit after we all said our goodbye and I made my way to check-in.)

Two whole months flew by rather quickly, and it's a rather bittersweet experience to meet strangers half across the world, to live and spend every waking moment with them, to learn things about them such as what they like to eat, what makes them laugh, what pisses them off, their quirks and habits -- they're strangers who become your friends, people you actually care about -- and then time's up and you have to go and you don't know if you'll ever see these people again. But hey, that's what the internet is for right? But it's not really the same.

My two months in France living with you has been an experience I will forever cherish. I know, how fucking cliche does that sound? But it's the truth. This is something I've always wanted to do ever since I was young, and I will forever owe your family for welcoming me into your home and into your lives. Sure, it could've been any French family but honestly I don't think I could have been treated better by any other family than the way you guys have treated me. You've treated me like your own, you always made sure I was comfortable, and you were always very considerate; and I hope I reciprocated, though I was still shy a lot of the time, so I hope that didn't come off as me being aloof, or uninterested. I think I'll go ahead and blame my Asian upbringing for that.

The bottomline is this: I will miss every single one of you, and that is whats making me very emotional right now.

I will miss waking up in the mornings around 9:30-11:00am (depending on how well I slept that night) and heading straight to the kitchen to see what Madame C is cooking for the family. I'll miss her explaining to me in Franglais (French-English) the French dishes she's making and even though it's an everyday struggle for her to converse with me, I appreciate the fact that she even tries (Thank you, Google Translate for helping us out whenever we struggled to even understand each other). I'll miss her homecooked French dishes, and the mustard based salad dressing which I like to eat with almost everything. I'll miss Monsieur P's loud voice, which reminds me a lot of my own father. Except his voice is especially loud when a football match is on TV, which I have to admit terrifies me a little ... but he's a warm and caring man.

I will miss talking with Adeline and learning how much we have in common, I'll miss our sushi nights (there was a total of three, and if it were cheap like in the PH, trust me there would've been more) and watching Les Princes de L'Amour even though I didn't understand what was happening 99% of the time (she'll help translate whats going on), generally spending time with Adeline was always a pleasure, and I especially enjoyed shopping with her (heehee!). Our weekend trip to Marseille has to be one of my favorite times with her, as well as one of my favorite trips around France.

I'll miss Bastien playing beautiful music on his keyboard. I remember how the first few weekends he was home from Marseille he'd be in his room with the door closed and there would be this constant tap tap tap sound, and I'd think "what the hell is he doing in there?" and as it turned out he would plug in headphones and practice his pieces quietly... Adeline said it was probably because he was shy with me being in the house. It was around the third weekend he was home when he finally played music out loud and I absolutely loved it. And although Bastien and I hardly really spoke due to the language barrier on both our ends (he thinks his English sucks and I think my French sucks, so put us together and you get a shitload of silence) but despite that, we were fully able to communicate just by our facial expressions. He was always nice to me, and I appreciated that.

And lastly, I'll miss Guillaume & Maude, who are now one of my favorite couples in existence. Although they're both younger than me, they somehow felt like older siblings who looked out for me a lot of the time. I'll miss riding in the backseat of their car whenever we had places to go, our conversations, their playful banter especially when they debate about the french/english language. I'll miss Guillaume's talkativeness and the way his family would tease him about it, whereas I never really minded because I'd rather listen than talk. I'll miss Maude's "duck face" when she'd be sad about something or if something didn't go her way, her enthusiasm about her work and her undying love for Desigual, to how she would always ask me questions about my life. They're getting married this September, and I honestly could not be happier for them.

I'll miss the quiet life in Craponne, the beautiful (although abnormal this time of the year) sunny weather perfect for walks when I'm not feeling lazy, French food & French bread, having apéritif before meals on weekends, playing darts, the after meal chore of cleaning up and loading the dishwasher (one of my favorite routines), hearing "putain!" on a daily basis to the point where I wonder if any of you had "putain" as your first word when you were babies. Haha

So, thank you. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms, for letting me experience the French way of life, for the generosity of your family. Thank you because you've given me a life experience that changed me, a life experience that I will always look back on fondly.

I hope to see you all again someday soon.

Love always,

Camille