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Almost French by Sarah Turnbull

When Australian reporter, Sarah Turnbull, was in her twenties she decided to take a year long leave of absence from her job and travel around Europe. While in Romania she had a chance encounter with a French attorney named Frederic. They had only one dinner together in a group of other people, but hit it off, and Frederic invited Sarah to visit him for a week or two in Paris. She hadn’t planned on going to Paris – but, her logic was that she was out for adventure; she liked him, so why not pursue it and see where it took her.

Well, that has been over twenty years ago and she is still in Paris and married to Frederic. Her book, Almost French, is a great read about her life in Paris as an expatriate adjusting to Frederic's culture, family and friends. Her candid experiences with the French and their acceptance, or unacceptance of her, in many cases gives the reader intelligent perspective on what living in France as a foreigner is like.

Americans have always heard that the Parisians’ are not as warm, friendly, and accepting of us as we would hope, and Ms. Turnbull gives background and history about their cultural practices and beliefs that help us in better understanding the French and she graciously offers advice on ways to bridge the gap between cultures. Most of all she encourages us not to take their rebuffs personally because they treat everyone the same way.

If you’re looking to get a true perspective on what an extended stay or short visit to Paris will be like, this would be a highly recommended book for you to read.

Since the book has been written, Sarah and Frederic have a precious little one named Oliver in their home. You can see the family by looking at their blog about a six-month caravan trip in Australia in 2008 online at touraustralie.blogspot.com.

-Joanna

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