Yesterday was Lunar New Year. While my family back home doesn't celebrate, I remember it was always a big deal during high school due to our sizable Vietnamese population. It was strange hearing silence instead of the usual popping of firecrackers.

So in order to celebrate the best way I could, I decided I was going to try to find a Vietnamese place to eat lunch. The place I wanted to go to ended up being closed (which in retrospect makes sense because hello, holiday!) so I ended up going to the restaurant I went to the day before - a place that serves "world cuisine." While I was in the middle of deciding what to order, I thought back to orientation and how Alan Roberts (Director of the Marchutz School) presented us with the multitude of definitions that come with the word "abroad." I can't remember all of the synonyms he listed, but I recall something along the lines of (to take an overused phrase used in perhaps every study abroad pitch) expanding one's horizons.

It's a weird thing to think about, as an Asian American woman still trying to find her own identity while trying to adapt to another. To break it down even further: Here I am, alone on Lunar New Year, in the south of France, at a world/traveler-themed restaurant that serves everything from gyoza to empanadas to nutella tiramisu. I'm recovering from a cold, wearing a blouse, a blazer, a leather jacket and a scarf, and I glance at the window to see snow beginning to fall. I'm considering going to H&M to buy another coat and a hat, but later decide against it because my motivation to make it home trumps the need to go shopping.

As far as what I had for lunch, I ended up ordering a tapas sampler plate and a chocolat blanc. It was nice.

But getting back to this weird existential crisis moment I was having during lunch... it's strange that I find myself wondering (perhaps uselessly) what it means to have a true French experience. Is that idea just composed of stereotypes that Americans have of the French? Am I changing? What have I picked up in these first few weeks?

I suppose that last question can best be answered in list form, but I'll save that for another post.

 





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