You’re Welcome

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.



  1. This has to be one of the great things about being a word person: every once in a while you stop and think about what the words you use every day actually mean, or did mean, or could mean. 🙂 Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year to you and yours!

    • Thank you so much, Susanna. And happy holiday season to you too! Happy New Year! See you in 2017!
      Thank you for so many great posts that made me think, smile and be a better writer (I hope!)

  2. Beverly Broughton says:

    Finding your post filled me with such wonderful memories and genuine nostalgia…our days sharing the table at Town Hall created a blessed, revered friendship. .. My love and holiday joy to you and yours….
    Bev Broughton

  3. Lovely. Happy Christmas 🙂

  4. Happy Christmas to you Evelyne 🙂

  5. Merry Christmas Evelyne! I hope your stocking is full.

  6. Behind the Story says:

    Every once in a while it’s fun to revisit the phrases we’re so familiar with and the customs we take for granted.

  7. And you have stayed. I remember when I went to live in Israel and I remember the feelings of wonder and confusion and fear and hope. But I didn’t stay. Perhaps because all the people I loved were here, not there. Maybe that’s the difference. Whatever the reason, I am very glad you came to these shores and are part of my world 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Marilyn for your kind words. I understand what you write about the people staying behind when we leave “home.” At some point, new people become more important in your new life made somewhere else than the ones left behind. It is sad in some ways, but it is the consequence of human adaptability and resilience. It works both ways since after many years the loved ones who stayed in your native land move ahead too. Love and friendships evolve and change. Again, thank you for your very nice words. BTW I’m also glad I stayed:)

  8. 25 years already?!… happy anniversary! 🙂 santé, joie et inspiration…
    * * *
    our daughter and her American hubby have just returned to San Francisco after 3 weeks with us… but we’ll visit them asap! 🙂

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