When you are an American living in France, there are a few things that you can be sure of:
1) You will compare your adopted country to your home country.
2) You will miss home, and eventually miss the other when you are home.
3) You will say French words when speaking English, and English words while speaking French.
4) Family and friends will come to visit, crowning you the best tour guide.
5) You will find yourself defending the misunderstood ways of the French.
6) You will say, "Oh la la," in a perfect French accent, and be able puff your lips, and blow air out in the most convincing way.
7) You will know how to get the French waiter's attention to pay the bill.
8) Instead of hugging your American friends you will give them a peek on the cheek.
9) You will be able to spot another American ten miles away.
10) When in the States you will ask the waiter, “Can I have water with no ice, please?”
11) You will know the secret of how the French stay thin and how to wear a scarf.
12) Endives, Radishes, Leeks... will be your new best friend.
13) Using a paper cup will feel shameful.
14) You will understand the art and appreciation of flirting.
15) Good butter, wonderfully inexpensive wines (that would cost a fortune in the States,) and baguettes will never, never compare anywhere else in the world.
17) Being chic for no reason is reason enough: Why not wear high heels today?
18) That dogs are not dogs but human beings.
19) You will smile knowing that a facade is a facade, and that what is real is behind the wall.
And I am not talking about shutters and house interiors.
20) When you have visited France, or have lived here for over twenty some years, or are a native, you will be asked, "What is it about the French?" And if you are like me you will smile knowing deep down inside... la vie est belle and with that you know what they know and yet cannot explain it.