Back home

I dreamed in French last night.

It was one of those gibberish dreams that merit no recounting, but I was tickled to find that my subconscious still had a foot on Gallican soil.

My family (all ten of ’em) had a photo bash last night with leftover Christmas pie and all the documentation I’d collected of my séjour in Nantes.  Postcards and illustrated guides and an opera programme and two cathedral bulletins are strewn about our dining room table.  I managed to pare the photo slideshow down to 70 slides.  (Some of those slides, my friends, had two pictures…very stealthy.)

Back here in the family nest for the holidays, I’m starting to appreciate my time overseas in a new light: it was all my own experience.  It’s an overstatement to say that you don’t ask anyone’s advice abroad, but you do rely on your own wits a lot more, which usually turn out to be surprisingly sufficient.  You aren’t hampered by cultural mores because you don’t know what they are.

I confess nonetheless that I spent my last few days in Nantes greedily dreaming of Americana that I missed (mostly the edible sort) and the first thing I did in the Chicago airport was make a beeline for the Starbucks.  Coffee overseas never could keep me awake.

I ordered in French.