What can be said of Las Vegas that has not been said before?
Her humble and infamous beginnings, the glitz and glamour, and the 24 hour accessibility of the finest of vices are located on a five mile stretch of road known throughout the world as ‘The Strip’.
But for me, it was home.
Living in Las Vegas is like nothing and everything you can imagine. The casino was my playground and gluttony was my best friend. I indulged and reveled in the Las Vegas lifestyle with her blinking and blinding lights, the sweet music of the slot machines, the screams of winners at the craps table, the instant gratification, the concerts, the buffets, the shows, the discos, the shopping, the smoking, the constant noise, the drinking, the parties, and her overt opulence. The propaganda of “Sin City” delivered on the promise of a grand illusion, and I was a willing and active participant.
Las Vegas, which means ‘The Meadows’ in Spanish, began as railroad stop. In the early 1930s, Americans from across the country flooded the Las Vegas valley to work on the construction project, Hoover Dam. Ten years later, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, a man with a vision and a gangster background, made his stake in the middle of the desert with a casino named The Flamingo. And thus, Las Vegas rose like a phoenix from the ashes and continues to burn brightly for the world to see.
Now fast forward to present day. I find myself a foreigner in the foreign land of France.
I arrived more than 2 years ago in the beautiful city of Bordeaux, crossing the ocean for none other than love and adventure.
The enormity of the change from bright lights to baguettes has left me feeling lost and confused, but the American in me does not comprehend failure. So, I regroup, reorganize, and play on French terms, which I find changes by the minute depending on the direction of the winds or where bread crumbs land. And here I thought Las Vegas was fast paced!
I find the French are passionate about conversation and complaining, yet, from my point of view, they find it pointless to change, even if it could lead to a better situation. When pointing this out, I have received the typical French sound of “Pfft,”which I figured out is a legitimate answer to any question.
I also love and find a bit bizarre, the different sound effects that the French sprinkle in their conversations. I too find myself doing these sound effects, and go so far as to act out words to carry on a conversation, much like a performing monkey. The French seem to appreciate though, however I’m unsure if they are secretly poking fun at me.
Above all, France is teaching me patience. I have discovered the fine art of ‘à la française’.I have fallen in love with the different approach to life, where it can be seen at any sidewalk café. The French have conversations; they eat and smoke, they enjoy the moment, instead of allowing themselves to be distracted by their mobile phones or other devices that creates isolation, like many Americans. I find the approach to life magnificent, and after meeting several people, who love to practice their English with me, (I should start charging) the importance of ‘the experience’.
I recently met a gentleman, Laurent Gonzales, who discussed for more than half an hour, a Calvados or “calva” as he called it, he “had the privilege to drink” distilled from the 1800s, on a recent trip to Normandy. He described the experience as if he discovered Eve in the Garden of Eden. Gonzales used his hands, like a maestro, to emphasize the perfection of the calva’s smoothness, its aroma, its color, and how his taste buds exploded with pleasure. With his carefully chosen words, he had transported me to Normandy and I felt as if I had enjoyed the calva right alongside him. Then, he asked me a question which, for the first time, made me sad to be American.
“Do Americans drink wine?” Gonzales said. “Yes,” I answered, “but I think mostly on special occasions.”
He then looked at me with the typical French face of disgust and surprise, and at that exact moment, I discovered the distinct difference between French and American cultures. Americans drink wine for special occasions, while the French drink wine because every day is a special occasion.
From this moment on, I have decided to allow France to reveal herself to me on her terms, and to remember that every day is a special occasion.
I embrace and welcome the change, and above all the experience.
Viva La France!
Bonjour et Bienvenue!
Thank you for stopping by for a spell!
I am a 40-something year old American woman. Born in Texas, raised in Las Vegas!
Frenchified for Life
is a fabulous little lifestyle blog about truly embracing French life!
My intent is to simply inspire you to create something unique and beautiful in your everyday life. The French have this wonderful and annoying habit of seeing the world through rose colored glasses, might as well learn something from them!
That said, I lift my glass to you!
By the way, I mention the name Cachou (or The Cash) a lot, I'm referring to her...