In my thesis, I am exploring how different people, with different environments and backgrounds can find the same conclusion.  I couldn’t help but comparing the United States, the country of my grandi, and France, my location, in this same light.

the republic

My bookshelf is filled with books for my thesis alongside books about and of France.  I read history books for context and novels for the shared experiences.  These novels are stuffed with inside quips for the bicultural, such as an obscure reference to the cinemas on rue des ecoles, just beyond the reaches of tourism but accessible to all who look, or the particular usage of words such as chauvinism or excité.

concerning the spiritual in art

Its strange to exist in this transformative limbo.  I just took a test on the Rosetta stone, and I got 97% on the oral section, but a mere 27% percent on the reading section. I orally absorb French culture and language, yet on paper exist only as an Ango Saxon.  I read children’s books in French, such as Le Petit Nicolas (now a major motion picture) and Tin Tin, but most of my reading and all of my writing exists in English.  I travel in an American bubble, with American books and American concepts.

le petit nicolas

I wonder what will happen when I return to the United States, when everything will come so much easier.  I won’t have to think about what I say before I say it.  I’ll be released from my perspective as an outsider, and return to mon habitude.

tin tin


6 thoughts on “bookshelf

  1. I miss you Lili! I can definitely relate, to the “outsider” perspective, and to the constant comparison of cultures. I think it’s one of the most valuable things a person can do, to be in that position for a while (especially having been raised in America), and I’m certain that it’s changed the way I act, and given me a more humble, sensitive outlook on things, but also loaded me up with self-confidence, because of each of those moments where I said the right thing, or got through a hard, awkward, whatever sort of thing.

    I think you will be surprised at how great it will be back here, when you overcome the initial homesick/devastated/horrified feelings that come with leaving your adopted home, and you’ll really be able to have a fuller perspective on your trip and everything it’s done for you.

    Sorry, this feels half like an essay for a college application, and half like an email I should have sent in reply to your latest! Haha. I love you!!! I’m so happy for you and proud of you and impressed with you (as always). xoxoxo

  2. Oh, and PS: I think I mentioned this before, but just in regards to the idea of “how different people, with different environments and backgrounds can find the same conclusion”, have you ever read the Tao of Physics? It’s about how Western science is heading towards the same truths as Eastern Medicine/Philosophy. Not entirely related to your point, it just made me realize you should read that.

  3. i know you’re not feeling his effects right now because in socialist france they probably make him out to be some sort of messiah but seeing plato’s republic reminded me i’ve been wanting to ask you a question: what do you think of the philosopher king now?

  4. You say: ” 97% on the oral section, but a mere 27% percent on the reading section”. Inquiring minds want to know: is that enough to get credit for your time in Paris, or is there some more undergraduate education in your future, or what?

  5. Lil – Add me to your list of people who miss you! Jim and I visited with your parents and Grandma in NYC last week. Heard about how you were her compass in Paris.

    And I love reading here about your perspective on the world. It always surprises me how traveling outside our comfort zone helps us see our lives more clearly. Keep your insights coming.

    Lots of love,

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