Today marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of my departure from France.
I flew alone from Paris to San Francisco, via Boston, with my baby daughter and pregnant with her sister, to rejoin my husband.
I had no idea that Americans hung socks for Christmas.
In fact, I had no idea at all about the USA.
Recently, I found myself traveling back to those first years, when everything was unknown, mine to discover. No assumptions. No judgment. No English, really. Just observation. With my eyes and mind and heart. For the last month and a half, I’ve deliberately tried to return to this state of mind to decipher once again the mysteries of my vast adoptive country. I’ve stopped reading too much news, favoring observation. I am now part of this strange land where I also hang socks for Christmas.
And I still have the goose bumps (and not the hen’s bumps anymore) when someone tells me, “You’re welcome.”
Among the countless American expressions I’ve learned and made mine, this one makes the top list.
And I wish and hope and want that anyone, anyone who makes it to this place I now call home will always be able to choose the same one.