An American in Paris

Today was one of the best days I’ve had in awhile. The first thing I said to my roommate this morning as I stirred awake was a groggy, “Happy Fourth of July.” That was pretty much the theme today — being free to do whatever the hell I wanted to. After having a weird-ish day yesterday, I was determined to make today extra marvelous if it killed me. So I tightened up everything on my bike, planned out the quickest route to school to make the commute easier for myself on Monday, and headed out onto L’avenue Parmentier, the street where my apartment is situated, in search some way to celebrate the 4th. Man oh man did I get a surprise!

I recommend turning your volume down a bit.

Because I was too busy being a part of the revelry to ask, I’m not QUITE sure what it was for. I know, what an igmo, huh? But a quick look-see on Wikipedia.fr tells me that it could be a number of things: Independence Day in America–of course–but that hardly makes sense, the end of Rwandan genocide between the Hutus and the Tutsis, orrrr the publication of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Probably not the last one, but I’ll celebrate that tonight anyway by reading a chapter or something because it’s one of my favorite childhood books. I digress. I didn’t ask because apparently in Paris you can just JOIN parades like this if you want… and I did want, and OH. I did.


‘Twas kind of hard to film and dance and lead my bike all at once. And I don’t think I meant to focus in on that woman’s butt….

But! This party didn’t stop! I had to make myself leave. I biked toward the Seine River, crossed the water, met a nice old man who agreed to take my picture on the bridge if I held his dog’s leash, which led to much-needed cute dog playtime. Man do I ever miss Mojo. Everyone here has a Jack Russell. No joke.

And here’s the zinger. I really like being here so far. I’ve learned a lot about what I’m made of. There’s no place I’d rather be at the moment. But you know what? I am still an American and proud of it. Something I’ve noticed that sets me apart from some of my friends here is that they act disdainful of any American-like behavior. REALLY disdainful. That might have something to do with the general way Parisians respond to overt Americanisms. Well, I think there’s a fine line you can tread. I’m not going to squeal loudly, act like a buffoon, carry a fanny pack, or I don’t know, be obese, but I’m also not going to pretend like I’m not an American at all. I don’t need to blend in… blending in is not my specialty. I just need to keep the same pace. I can do that and be myself at the same time.

Today is still the day my country gained its independence, and by pete I’d celebrate it somehow! So I gathered all the obnoxious American in me that I could without going over the top… and sang The Star-Spangled Banner in front of a McDonald’s.

Promise I wasn’t drunk. The high note on “The land of the…free!” kills me. My name is Geena, I am an American, and I dared to make an ass of myself in the name of my country and your entertainment. If anyone in my program knew about this they may very well have a hernia… but what I do in my private time is my own thang. So voilà. Happy Independence Day, e’erbody!

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4 comments on “An American in Paris”

  1. Rad. Glad you like it. Unfortunately, I sometimes fell into your anti-american american friends behaviors. There were a few times a felt pretty ashamed of being from the USA. Maybe it’s because every stereotype they have of us is correct. hum.
    I’m about to go eat some grilled stuff at Phillip’s and hang out. Fireworks may or may not also be in the equation.
    Have fun.

  2. oh, there are moments of shame, mos def. the moment the clock struck midnight for 4 juillet, i was on the metro and there were a bunch of “those” americans drunkenly whooping/screaming at the fact that it was independence day. i remember contorting my face in disgust… but also smiling. it’s a celebration, whatever.

    a french guy looked sideways at me and commented on it… at that moment i think he thought i was french so i replied “je suis americaine et je suis pas du tout comme ca. il y a d’espoir.”

    funny thing about stereotypes though. there are certainly correct ones about the parisians, too. unfortunately for americans they’re mostly cool stereotypes.

  3. LOVE the fact that you sang the anthem in front of mcdo!!! hahahaha

  4. next time, sit on the ground in front of a mickey d’s, and try singing with food in your mouth and in your hands…preferably burger and fries.


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