Being l’américaine

Nine years ago, I spent Christmas in my family in France.
It was just a matter of time for the USA to invade Iraq.
Conversations in restaurants, shops and among the French expressed the opposition to the American decision.  I didn’t blame them, especially when we see where the endless war took us.
What was more disturbing was the anti-Americanism oozing from the media and the people alike. It was as if every American was at war.
I wanted to talk to them and convince them that they were wrong, that many Americans also opposed the war.  Then I wanted to shout at them when it was clear they wouldn’t listen.  In the end I wanted to be invisible when I realized they knew I came from the US.
Ironically, as Americans soldiers are finally heading home, the French are ignoring the end of the war but instead have turned their dissatisfaction against the British and the Germans, blaming the first for preferring their insularity to Europe and the second for wanting a more financially accountable Europe.
I miss my native France and the annoying, know it all, brooding French, sometimes with such love that I would jump in a plane if I had one in my driveway.
Yet after each of my trip, I’m convinced that a distance grows between me and them.
More and more often, my fellow French compatriots don’t miss a chance to make sure I know I’m an oddity in my homeland.
First I thought of my shoes, then my jeans, then my hair, then my smiles and my civil behavior, all acquired in the US.
Then I realized that they didn’t really know where I was from and that was what triggered their suspicion.
After all I am a woman who speaks like them but doesn’t dress like them, knows the country like them but is ignorant of the recent popular places. 
I’m definitely not seen as a Parisian anymore, less and less as a provincial and more often as a Francophone.   
I won’t be spending the holidays in France this year and I have the feeling that it is maybe a mistake.
No offense to the Anglais– I love your independence and wicked sense of humor a lot- and to the Allemands– I know you’ve worked hard at changing Germany’s bad image–but this year the Americans have a pretty good reputation.
For once, being l’américaine would be cool.

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