American Traditions in the Land of the French

Halloween was this week and I really had no expectations. Last year I didn’t celebrate it partly due to the fact I was with my parents who were visiting, and partly because the French (and most other Europeans) really do not believe in this holiday. However, with my recent involvement in CouchSurfing due to the persuasion of my Frenchie, a Halloween event caught my eye in the sea of emails I receive from them each day. It had me at: Zombie Bar Crawl.

Now, you fellow Americans know that at my age Halloween has turned into an excuse for girls to wear lingerie and call it a “costume.” Basically, an even larger SDSU themed frat party but you get to pick the theme. Halloween is no longer filled with fright and blood but sex and booze. And that my friends is why this year rocked—I got to be scary… for the first time on Halloween since I was about 11 (and that was just in the phase that I dressed as a witch every year).

My friends and I never do anything half-ass, so this wasn’t any different. I think normal, reasonable people might wonder why dressing up in full zombie outfit makes any sense in a city where no one will be dressed up but not us. We embraced it. An hour and bottle of vodka later, 3 Americans and a Frenchie were zombified—and so was my flat sad to say! The cool thing was we weren’t just a group of obnoxious Americans–I mean we were but I felt like it helped to have a Frenchie just as into to it as us. On top of the gobs of make up, we felt it necessary to also terrorize innocent passerbys. It was a pretty interesting night to say the least.

In a few weeks it will be Thanksgiving, a more authentic American tradition. Last year was spent slaving over my host family and cooking up some wonderful Picard delicacies. And then attempting to celebrate with my friend Robin at a church function/Thanksgiving dinner. The food was enjoyable, but Robin and I were more than happy to leave the event. It is also a bit difficult to try and take a piece of home when you are living abroad. I have rarely been homesick while here, but I have to say getting a milkshake by myself on 4th of July while dreaming of fireworks and BBQs was a low point. This year I have high hopes Thanksgiving will be different. I am going to a friend’s house and having a true American feast. My Frenchie is quite excited he will be attending his first Thanksgiving too! I am currently brainstorming something to make since my awesome friend has really covered all the bases. My Frenchie has been nice enough to let my use his proper kitchen as opposed to my toaster oven and hot plate 🙂  in exchange for lesson in some American cooking. Should be interesting. Suggestions welcome.

I believe that this year as a whole will be better than last. Not to say that last year wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t my own. It belonged to two kids and their disrespectful parents. This year I can do things my way and therefore it is much more enjoyable. I can’t explain how happy I am that my week day nights are filled with raclette parties with French friends, dinner dates, and relaxing in my very own flat. Life is so much better when you make it your own.


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