Thursday, July 14, 2011

Born on the Four(teen)th of July

Dear loyal or occasional reader,

One year ago today, Becky and I were sitting at a long, food-laden table in the back yard of good friends in a quaint village outside Strasbourg, France. We topped off an already wonderful evening by standing in the midst of a festive crowd in the center of Strasbourg, oohing and ahing like kids at the fireworks above the medieval towers of the old city.

Today in France is what Americans call Bastille Day. The name Bastille is nowhere in the French name for the holiday; they simply call it la Fête nationale, or, even more commonly, le quatorze juillet -- just as we commonly say July 4 instead of Independence Day.

If you've been following me for very long, you know I'm an avowed francophile. What you may not know is that I was born on the 14th of July. It would seem my life was destined to be intertwined with that of our French friends, of whom I have many. This year, I'm celebrating at home with my family and good friends, taking part in local celebrations of Bastille Day hosted by the few but proud francophiles in my city of Nashville.

You haven't heard from me in a while because I've been busy putting the finishing touches on an e-book on how to go about learning a foreign language. I'll send updates soon, but in the meantime, feel free to sign up here if you're specifically interested in foreign languages -- and spread the word!

Finally, you've been reading for some time in this blog my musings on cultural and international issues, my passion and mission being to awaken cultural curiosity among English speakers. From now on, however, I intend to muse on other topics of interest as well; this will likely include more opinions, which you may or not agree with. Maybe it's my age (and we do tend to be more philosophical as we muse on our birthday, dont' we) -- but it's becoming less important to me to avoid stirring the waters a little. My philosophy is that we treat each other with the same respect we hope to be given, and I trust you'll stay on board with me.

In the meantime, Bonne Fête du 14 juillet!