Je Suis Americaine!

By: Shannon Boatwright

ParisInstead of submitting what I had planned for my next blog entry, I have been inspired to share something else, something that I find very poignant and touching. With the recent attacks in France, there is an uneasiness and sadness in the air that I honestly, personally do not know how to respond to. A fellow teacher and dear friend of mine, Mrs. Leslie Layton, shared the following blog entry with me, with a note saying, “This is a blog I read by an American woman who lives in France. Read it all, it’s very touching. I’m very sad about Paris….my favorite city in the world.”

The following blog entry originally appeared on the “French Word-A-Day” Blog. It begins with a short letter to readers and concludes with an uplifting story.

Dear Friends,

Following the attack in Paris last night, so many people are speechless. I don’t know what to say, either, and so I will share a story and hope it comforts you as it did me.

Each of us will react in his or her own way in the face of terror. Don’t let anybody tell you how you *should* feel. And be careful not to model your feelings after another’s. Some of us are outraged. Others stunned. Still others are desensitized given so many years of sensational news headlines.  As a dear friend’s mom used to say, “Feelings aren’t right or wrong. They’re there.”

There there. Take heart. Continue to share hope and comfort at every chance. With all its broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.



“The Morning After”

I was standing in Mr. Bricolage, looking at a display of window blinds, when an old man walked past me only to stop in his tracks. Turning, the stranger smiled and addressed me, “Bonjour, Dame Liberté!”

It took me a second to understand–to realize that–indeed!-what with the new table lamp I was holding out in my right hand, and the way I stood frozen before all the window treatments,  I did look like the Statue of Liberty!

The Frenchman skipped off with a smile, his door trim and his glue, and I watched him gleefully – my heart suddenly swelling with a love for all humanity.

And for the first time since 9/11, I had the urge to reveal my roots. Despite the senseless attack on France, and a mind still trying to process it all,  fear had instantly left me on hearing a Frenchman pronounce, with unbridled joy, the words “Dame Liberté.”

“Oui,  Monsieur!”  I chirped,  “…et, en plus, JE SUIS AMERICAINE!”

Leslie is a French teacher and has traveled to France many times. Since I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Leslie, her adoration for Paris is very obvious because she always lights up when she speaks of that beautiful city. I have always wanted to go to Paris and hope that someday I will be able to visit France. I have a strong feeling that I too will light up with adoration when I think of that magical city. Until my day comes to experience that beauty, I will think of the people there affected by these recent tragedies and pray that peace and love prevail.

Le monde est pourtant beau ;
It is still a beautiful world!

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