Foreign Ways of Life

Leaving one’s native country means discovering, learning, and assimilating foreign ways of life.
Over the years that followed my move from France to the USA, the American customs that most intrigued me were by far the strange celebrations organized before and after the birth of a child.
Since I had a baby when I arrived, I sought the company of other new mothers. That’s how I got invited to many baby showers.
Of course, I knew the meaning of the word ‘shower’ but I wasn’t sure what to expect when I showed up at my first baby shower. It was a relief to understand that the expecting mother was the only one to be showered. And only with silly games and gifts.
I was then in my early thirties and most of my new friends were having babies. So when my turn came, I was seasoned in the art of baby showers. My friends still managed to surprise me when they showed up unexpected, with casseroles (it means pan by the way in French) and all sorts of baked and cooked food for weeks after I delivered my daughter.
You see, in my native France, giving birth is a private event and only close relatives and selected friends are welcome to visit the new parents and their baby.
With my own children growing up, I entered the world of school dances, winter formals and proms, which of course brought also a big deal of cultural shock. But that would be the topic of an entire post.
Thanks to one of my friends, I attended yesterday my first bridal shower. According to my daughters (who have never attended a bridal shower but have probably read a dummies book about proper bridal showers), it was atypical because there was only one game, no lingerie, and was not offered by the bride’s best friend but her future mother in law.
Still, the guests were all close friends of the young couple and their families so the ambience was warm and relaxed. The bride to be was lovely and was definitely showered with lots of gifts for her future home.
I told everyone that I had officially attended the last event that was missing to my knowledge of the American world of celebrations.
I didn’t disclose that I have never been to a bachelorette party. Yet.

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