Lunch in Paris

Monday, April 04, 2011

Lunch in Paris
Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard was given to me by virtue of my membership in FromLefttoWrite.com. This is in no way to be construed as a review of the book.

Cross-cultural experiences rank very high on my Bucket List. In spite of the fact, that my biological self does not adjust well to a change in water from state to state and I’m allergic to my own kin, I still love to travel and enjoy hearing about the travel of others.

Lunch in Paris not only scratched that itch during a time when I can’t afford the real thing, it tweaked my memory and conscience about what it means to be “The Ugly American.” Yes, as citizens of this great country, we tend think that our way of doing life is better by half than all others, that our values supersede the values of all other cultures, that our food, clothes and cars are The Norm for the rest of the world. It really matters little when facts dispute this thinking. We are the United States of America.

Elizabeth lived in England and then France and learned through daily encounters that the rest of the world doesn’t appreciate this American arrogance. She sighed with relief that there was a giant language barrier when her parents met her fiancé’s parents. Without the language barrier, she was sure her parents would have come across as the aggressive, overly ambitious Americans they really are before the French parents had time to get to know the kind, gentle people underneath. How sad.

Having traveled a bit more than the average American and not nearly enough to quench my thirst, I also know Americans are not the only nationality familiar with arrogance. (We just seem to strut ours around more freely.) I’m thinking of the quote from My Fair Lady when Professor Henry Higgins states, “The French don’t care what they do, actually, as along as they pronounce it properly.” The comment was his two-edged jibe at the French for loose behavior and the English for not caring enough about pronunciation of their own language.

We all have our arrogances. Culturally, nationally, politically, religiously, racially---need I go on? The crux of the matter, I think, might lie in identifying your own and pledging to keep them in restraint and spreading a thick layer of tolerance and grace over the arrogance of others.

Now go travel the world!  

updated: 6 years ago

ADD COMMENT

bpetersonFriday, April 8th 2011 6:57PM

Thanks, Cheryl, the only way we're going to change the way the world thinks about us is one American at a time acting with love and compassion for the entire world.

What a delight to connect with you via www.fromlefttowrite.com!

CherylFriday, April 8th 2011 6:45PM

What a great post, Brenda! That part in the book - where Elizabeth was thankful for the language barrier when her parents met her soon-to-be in-laws - struck me as well. When I went to Israel many moons ago, we had the opportunity to speak with college students, and every single one of them said they thought Americans were both arrogant and thankless. It was such an eye-opening experience. It made me much more conscious in my future travels and when interacting with people of other cultures. Thank you for the thought-provoking post. I really like your site and will most definitely be back.  :)

bpetersonThursday, April 7th 2011 10:11AM

Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth. What a fun book you have written. I wish you the best as you continue your journey.

ADD COMMENT

Lunch in ParisThursday, April 7th 2011 3:43AM

Probably the most important thing living in France has taught me: There is no 'normal' - only what we know and are raised with. Stepping outside my cultural roots has been useful for me - it gave me the freedom to play around with my idenity - to try new ways of doing things. Some days, it's a frustration, most days, a breath of fresh air.

LisaTuesday, April 5th 2011 11:53PM

Oh very good points. How true that is, Americans certainly are not the only ones who can be arrogant!