Infant Americanism

I find French incredibly difficult to understand, much like a dog trying to understand English. If it’s written, no problem. On the other hand, if someone speaks to me in French, they might as well be saying nonsense words, because their message is not getting into my brain.

That being said, navigating Paris, a city not notable for its love of the American way,  can be a little daunting. For the most part, everyone has been really nice and gone out of their way to communicate with me (which often means switching to English). But sometimes, I wish that I had better communicative powers in French, that way I would be able to explain myself and apologize.

Today the three of us went down to the Luxembourg Gardens today which is right next to the Catholic Institute of Paris (where I have had the opportunity to study French for a month). In this very large public park, there are tiny pools that kids can play in. Stephenie has wanted to take Kadence there for about a week (although I think she was more excited about putting our baby in a swimsuit than actually going to the park).

When we arrived, there were a number of native Parisians enjoying the small pool with their children. And then decided to join in on the fun.

Within about two minutes, our thuggish seven month old had complete control of the pool, taken the toys of the other children, and run them of their native land. As an American, this doesn’t send the best message. And of course, we tried to make sure that the toys were immediately returned to their owners and then stayed in a small area of the pool so that all of the kids could have fun.

So anyways, it looks like our daughter is a great American.



Thanksgiving, Sneaky Canadians, and Costco

Celebrating Thanksgiving outside of the US is a surreal experience. To begin with, the Canadians insist on throwing us off by holding their thanksgiving roughly a month early. This doesn’t put a good American in the right mindset and by the time that Thanksgiving actually rolls around, it sort of surprises you. Sneaky Canadians. But, there is good news, we were able to have our own, very American Thanksgiving. And yes, before I get to Costco, we did have a meal that looked like this:

We were, as you might expect, very proud of ourselves for making a whole Thanksgiving meal (and a Pumpkin Pie) without having done it before. But, as great as that was, there was something supremely Thanksgivingesque missing from my experience. And, after thoughtful consideration, I realized that it was a trip to Costco. And thanks Jesus, there is one only about four miles away.

We jumped on the bus, and were there in about half an hour. As it emerged on our left, we were, as you might expect, absolutely ecstatic. After trying various Scottish versions of American brands (Pizza Hut, Subway, McDonalds) we were expecting something close, but not exactly like what we get home.

It turns out that Costco’s tagline in Edinburgh should be: “Costco: Welcome Home Americans.” It was like walking into a teleportation device. We had arrived back to California and I was standing in the Costco I was raised to respect. From the little snack shack at the front, to the samples, to the ridiculous condiment sizes, it was a molecule for molecule recreation. Thank you Costco.

And Most importantly….

Hello old friend.

Now, there were a few Scottish additions to the winning Costco formula.

Overall, it was great to feel at home. I am not sure what it says about American consumerism that I feel most at home in Costco when I am overseas, but I don’t care. I had my Costco Pizza: Thanksgiving Accomplished.