Jean Paul And Jennette
I made two new friends today, and in the life of an ex-pat that is memorable. I went to the Vit Halles fitness club this morning and a man in the locker room began a conversation, when he realized I was American he became more animated. His name is Jean Paul and he told me he works for Airbus and lived for 17 and 1/2 years in Washington DC.
I could tell from his demeanor that he enjoyed his stay. He liked Washington and told me stories of driving back from the homes of suburban co-workers who had introduced him to the wonders of American Bourbon. He chuckled at the memory.
Then he mentioned New York City and his whole face came alive, he loves New York. It is his favorite city. It was fun watching him talk about Manhattan, its crowds and its energy. His son now lives in NY so he has an excuse to go back a lot he explained. It was the social freedom and energy that he enjoyed so much.
Later I was in the cardio room, I had just finished the Stairmaster and a woman named Jeannette asked if I was American. She had seen my tee shirt and saw me reading the Intl Herald Tribune on the Stairmaster she explained. She was American and had lived in Paris for 30 year’s because she had married a French man. Her daughter was at Cal and she went home to spend every summer on Martha’s Vineyard to renew her Americanism.
The current anti French feeling some Americans harbor made her sad, she said that the French love Americans and she has never encountered any anti Americanism in her long stay. We parted, saying we would see each other again. I went back to my faux weight lifting thinking that almost all of my Paris encounters had been so positive. It was like they were all named Paul Lancey.