I am sitting in a small café, sipping chocolate chaud and snacking on a pain au chocolat. Watching the leaves dance in the wind as they are snapped off aged tree branches, I can hear simple pleasantries exchanged by the people who surround me. Every time the door to the café opens, a burst of crisp autumn air is accompanied by the greeting of a customer. Whether this is their first time in the café or the hundredth time, each individual says “bonjour!” before the door closes shut behind them. I am in France, and I don’t want to leave. There’s a film entitled “An American in Paris” that has always been a favorite of mine. Growing up, I would watch this film and dream of the day that this American in Paris would be me. When I was 19, I had the chance of a lifetime to fulfill this dream. After acquiring a passport and packing up my two suitcases, I set off on an
There’s a film entitled “An American in Paris” that has always been a favorite of mine. Growing up, I would watch this film and dream of the day that this American in Paris would be me. When I was 19, I had the chance of a lifetime to fulfill this dream. After acquiring a passport and packing up my two suitcases, I set off on an 18 month adventure that would change me in more ways than I thought possible. I intended to come back to the states with some souvenirs and a certain fluency in the French Language, but I came back with much more than I bargained for. First of all, language and culture are inexplicably connected. One cannot learn a language without being influenced by
First of all, language and culture are inexplicably connected. One cannot learn a language without being influenced by it’s culture just as it is impossible to understand a culture without learning some of the languages. As I learned French in France, the richness and beauty of the language connected me to the rich beautiful French culture. Ancient castles that line the countryside, French romanticism in literature and cinema, traditional French cuisine; these are all linked to the language of love. It was impossible to escape the cultural influence even if I had tried. And as the culture and language swirled around in my head and heart, I could feel myself changing. An American in Paris is no longer just a plain old American, you can take them out of Paris, but you cannot take Paris out of them. An American in Paris is a different breed of human; their American ideals become mixed with their Parisian ideals and soon the two different worlds become interchangeable and indistinguishable. This is the beauty of traveling tourism in Kerala.
So often we humans put ourselves in boxes. We identify with similarities we see in others and invite those likeminded individuals to enjoy the four corners of our world. When we see differences, we put those people in a box with a label and store it as far away from us as possible. As we are busy boxing people up, we miss the beauty of cultural diversity. Parisians have a different set of glasses that they look through to see the world. Trying on this set of glasses for a year and a half opened up the box I had put myself in and helped me knock down some of those boxes that I put others in. I realized that not only do Parisians have their own set of glasses, but each culture and each language comes with a beautiful set of spectacles that can transform the world around us into an exciting colorful place. Traveling adds color to the world in which we live. It’s easy to think everything is black and white, but we often don’t take into consideration the blues, reds, greens and yellows that give variety and flavor to our lives.