Friday 11 March 2011 - The Other Half
The other day, I was sitting at table with some of my girlfriends. We all have one thing in common: we are all French and something else. I am born Vietnamese but born and bred in France, there was a French girl born and raised in Moroccan (blond with blue eyes), an half Italian/half French, an half Spanish/half Spanish, etc, etc... I realized that I unconsciously tend to be (friendly) attracted to people who have a double culture. I already saw that back in France, where it was more obvious (used to have most of friends to be French and born Black or Asian), but I didn’t really expect it to happen in Sydney since it is a too small niche.
Still they all made the same comment: In France, it is their foreign side which is taking over. Overseas, it is their French side which is taking over.
What is remarkable is that once overseas, there is no question/doubt about a non-French face to be French (i.e an Asian/Black/Arabic face with a gross thick French accent). As soon as you open your mouth and people hear you can speak crystal clear French, they just assume you are totally French... Which is not always the case when you are in France with French people who have never travelled overseas. An Australian born Chinese told me a similar experience when she was in the U.S. Her accent was her trademark and she didn’t have to justify her Australianness. But in Australia, it was a constant question “But where are you from really?”
In French, we have a saying “Avoir le cul entre deux chaises”/”Have your bottom between two chairs”. I guess this is what happens when you keep moving between two places.