Random thoughts from an animal-loving French prof / mom of three on things she finds beautiful, funny, sad, or strange.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Where are you from?

It's been a while since I've posted, and in a sense, you still have to wait, for the words of this post are not my own. Then again, can we really say that words belong to anyone? It seems to me they somehow belong at once to no one and to everyone. Anyway. I say these words aren't mine because this short but evocative piece comes from another writer, Isabelle Flükiger of Switzerland. I loved it so much that I've been wanting to share it, but many of my readers and social media followers don't speak French. So... I translated it. If you want to read it in the original French, however, please do by following the link below the photo. The original is always better!

The Place You're From

The place you're from is like your family. You didn't choose it. You might sometimes be ashamed of it, but it's like your mother: only you can criticize. It's where you learned your first lessons, when to speak and when to remain silent, when to laugh and what to do. It shaped your customs: Coca cola and apple pie, states' rights and the Electoral College.* You might not always agree, but it's ingrained in you. You carry this baggage with you in the world. It's your point of reference, how you make sense of things. The country you're from is like your family: you start out being part of it; it ends up being part of you.

*Here the French text makes reference to very specifically Swiss foods and institutions. It was fun thinking of equivalents in American English! Also, I know "pays" literally means "country," but it just didn't feel right to me here...

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