Foreigners who hold a Green Card are rarely the kind who travel on a corporate contract with an expatriate package for a couple of years, though some started their journey in Boston that way: they fell in love with the lifestyle, the beautiful fall colors, the intellectual vibrancy of the city, the American work culture, and then one day they realized this was home and they never looked back.
Except they did look back, they do. Most of us uprooted first generation immigrants look back sometimes, or forward. We still hang on to the memories and the cultural aspects of what used to be home, or what we think it used to be, and this is where an often difficult, but exciting and enriching journey begins. Where is the happy medium? How can we embrace our always changing, multiple identities, and make sense of them in a way that allows us to keep balance in our professional and personal lives? How do we approach friendships with the "natives"? How do we relate to compatriots who are passing through our city, or staying for one, two, three years before going back to Europe? We are French or Francophone, we are American, we are both, and sometimes, usually, we are much more.
To me, it all started with hanging on to my native language, French. It was the glue that kept my family united through our travels, the one thing we kept in common but which also set us apart from others. French culture was also a way to cling to a semblance of roots: music, books, film, art, food. The longer I stayed in Boston the more I craved French cultural experiences. You can imagine that finding the French Library, which devotes itself to the promotion of French language and French/Francophone cultures, has helped satisfy many of these urges.
With this new blog, the French Library will be exploring Francophone happenings here in New England and in the Francophone world, we will share articles on cultural trends in such varied areas as fashion or gastronomy, film, literature or art, as well as look into what it means to be of Francophone culture living in Boston, and also how an American francophile can revel in all things French, our cultural differences and similarities. We hope you enjoy it.