xxxxiv. états-unis

postcards from france

In third grade, I find an old French textbook, dusty and used, buried in the stacks of books in the back of my classroom. It’s called something like Parlons! and has photos of 80s-styled people sipping coffees on the cover, the Notre Dame cathedral in the background. My 8-year-old self is enchanted. I’m too young to know when something is kitschy. I take the book home and that evening I make my first vocabulary list, folding a sheet of lined paper down the middle. French words and phrases go on one side, English translations on the other. I stick with the basics from the introductory chapter. Je m’appelle Olivia. Je suis américaine.