Wednesday, October 23, 2013

the one where I'm a foreigner in a foreign land

I've always been slightly socially awkward. And by slightly, I mean that it's bad. I cling to the few others who I can speak freely in front of, make horrible jokes, words come out of my mouth that I can't control, and OH MY GOD, WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS? 

When I was younger, my Mom liked to dress me to the nines. Which at times included a beret. Now, a lot of kids would see a beret as a fashion challenge. But for me, my beret collection was my armor. 

When forced to interact with kids I didn't know, I would shut down. I'd sit a little to myself, not saying a word but taking it all in. And maybe it's a kid thing. Or maybe it's just the lack of culture in Arkansas in the early 1990s, but if I was wearing a beret, the other kids would assume I was French.

They'd look me over, point, and say loudly, "Excuuuuuse me, little girl. Are you French?" Knowing that at this point it'd be a total disappointment if I busted out my Springdale accent, I'd usually respond, "Oui! Parlez-vous fran├žais?"

And after they got wide-eyed and walked away, I'd secretly say a thank you prayer for the hours of Madeline I had watched over the years and my trusty beret.

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