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But that doesn’t explain why we’re here, les Américains. Or why we traded our life savings for a second house in a part of the world we’d never heard of. We have no historic ties to France, no family members living in the “old country,” no vivid memories of cycling through the ripening vines during our gap year. More to the point, we can’t just “pop down” like our British friends. We have to slog 7,000 miles through nine time zones and five types of transportation to get here. No. The reason we ended up in France is much less obvious. We came by mistake. We thought if we bought a house in France, we would—as night follows day—become French. Now I know what you’re thinking: Wow, these people must be loaded. Who buys a house in France on such a whim? It wasn’t like that. There were no silver spoons in the kitchen drawer. We started our marriage as mere children, barely twenty, already raising a child of our own. To pay the rent I peddled handmade greeting cards from the back of an old Volvo. Eileen fed our little family with food stamps. When the greeting card business failed, I set up shop as a freelance designer. Little by little we built a life - I, designing ads and logos, she, keeping the books and running the house. For the next twenty years, travel was out of the question. But we kept the idea alive—the idea that someday we might visit a few foreign countries, even learn another language. And maybe, just maybe, if we worked hard enough and spent next to nothing on clothes and cars and meals in restaurants, we could afford to live in a foreign country. Why not? It doesn’t cost a cent to dream... Read the whole story by Les Americains, Beginning French, available from Amazon.
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