My French cousins just finished visiting the United States. They went all around the country and spent one of their days visiting my family. They live in Lyon, a nice, older city in east-central France. This tourist destination is only a two hour train ride to Paris. The two parents are Sophie and Arnaud. They have three kids. Clement is 12, Julie is 10, and Hortense is 6.
Both parents speak English and the oldest child, Clement, speaks some as well. Other than Clement’s small knowledge of the English language, there was a difficult language barrier. Gestures were key in communicating with the kids. Pointing and acting out what we were saying also helped.
I noticed that my French cousins were much different from the average American child. When they first walked in they were greeted by my dog who is the smallest, most-lovable creature in the whole entire world. The kids were frightened and backed away. They weren’t used to seeing dogs in Lyon. They were also fascinated by the elliptical in our basement. They each wanted a ride on the wondrous machine. My cousins were mesmerized by MarioKart on the Wii. They were jumping up and down on the couch and seemed so excited and happy even though they always came in last.
Their interests were much different. Each member of the family played an instrument, and the kids who played the piano for me were really good. In the United States, lots of children play instruments, but the most popular activity is playing sports. We were all playing catch, and they made me look like the most athletic person in the world. If you don’t know me, I’m not that athletic. They couldn’t throw or catch the ball very well. In France the main sports are football (known as soccer in the U.S.) and cycling. In France the lower portion of the body is stronger, and in America the upper portion of the body is stronger. The French are good musicians, and Americans are good athletes.
Meeting my French cousins was great. It was neat to experience a different culture up close and personal. I know they enjoyed visiting the United States. Hopefully one day, I will visit France and enjoy their country as much as they enjoyed ours.