WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture

Today I’m participating in the WordPress weekly photo challenge and this week’s theme is culture. Having been born and raised in France and now living in the US, I can truly say our home is bilingual and bicultural.

Son #1: “Mama, you don’t know Paul Bunyan because you’re not an American!”

That’s what my six-year old told me this week when he mentioned Paul Bunyan and the first thing that came out of my mouth was, Who? With that statement, my son had a simple explanation for my ignorance. Technically, I am an American by now, but there are still lots of facts I don’t know about America.  Like Paul Bunyan. Thank you, Google and Wikipedia for enlightening me!

I can tell you everything you’ve heard about “culture clash” is true. The first time you’re immersed in a different culture, everything amazes you. Then you start comparing and pointing out things you don’t like in the new, unknown culture. Once you’ve taken the time to learn more about the culture, you can be more objective and point out things you like and don’t like in both cultures.

Here are a few examples. French people can be grouchy, rude, and very loud. I once heard someone say, a French is like an Italian in a bad mood. That about sums it up. Now, I’ll never understand Americans’ obsession with guns and anything “big”: big cars, big homes, big boobs, big food plates, big bellies, you name it. All of these sound like stereotypes, but you soon learn that many (but not all) stereotypes happen to be based on reality. Stereotypes are just exaggerated versions of these facts. Funny how things work.

I want to think our home is a sanctuary where both cultures can live in harmony and it shows in every room. The place where it probably shows the most is in the kitchen. One of our most favorite breakfast food is croissants and pains au chocolat.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - pain au chocolat

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – pain au chocolat

But I also like to make pancakes, in this case, chocolate chip pancakes. Doesn’t everything taste better with chocolate?

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - chocolate chip pancakes

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – chocolate chip pancakes

Sometimes I like making quiche for a meal, here with asparagus and broccoli.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - veggie quiche

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – veggie quiche

But brownies are to be one of my favorite desserts.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - American brownies

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – American brownies

Reading is very important at my house and we read in both French and English. Our bookcases reflect both cultures. Here are a few of my books in French. I have many more in English.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - Books in French

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – Books in French

The kids also have tons of books in French, which tend to mix with the books in English on the bookcase without any problem or tension.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - Children's books in French and English

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – Children’s books in French and English

Finally the way we decorate our house is also very bicultural. I like to see French artists like Monet and Renoir on my wall.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - Monet painting

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – Monet painting

As for the kids, they definitely show a taste for Americana. You can’t be more American than Batman and Star Wars toys!

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture - Batman and Star Wars toys and decorations

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture – Batman and Star Wars toys and decorations

How much culture is reflected at your house? If you live in an all American house (or English, or whenever you come from), do you have cultural items that represent where everyone comes from?

21 responses to “WordPress weekly photo challenge: Culture

  1. It’s funny–I’ve always heard about how rude French people can be, but I’ve been to France five or six times, once living there for a year, and another for a summer month, and I’ve never found this to be true. There are rude people everywhere, and there are pleasant people everywhere. To me, France was no different. I loved my time there.

    My favorite Renoir’s are the girls at the piano and the outside picnic scene. I had prints of both professionally framed.

    And now I’m off to lunch, and thanks to your yummy looking pictures, I’m starving!

    • I have a print of “Le Dejeuner” too, I love that painting. It reminds me of my grandparents’ garden, where we used to have afternoon tea, under the shade of the tree. It looked exactly like that scene.

      I guess you’ve been lucky to avoid the rude French people, especially staying in Paris. I’ve met plenty of them and really, they’re not rude just to the foreigners. They’re just rude, plain and simple. It really bugs me to see it as I go back as a tourist.

  2. Those croissants looked delish. Awesome way to start your day. Maybe I should work that French culture into my breakfast routine. And Monet has to be my favorite painter. I love all his works. I agree, we Americans are obsessed with big. Big gulps, Big tires, Big Blizzards from Dairy Queen. **And yes, chocolate does make everything better. Peanut butter, honey and a few chocolate chips sprinkled on top is my favorite sandwich.

    • Argh, big tires! I should have added big trucks and big TVs.

      Oh, and funny you mention peanut butter, such an American specialty! It’s definitely an acquired taste you need to start early on. I can’t stand it and neither can my eldest. My youngest liked it at first and now won’t eat it anymore. But he loves Nutella! ;-)

  3. Mais oui! Breakfasts in France were the best ~ pain ou bagette avec buerre, blood orange, et cafe au lait.

    • As a French, I can’t help but agree with your statement. :-)
      I remember my first morning in the US, staying with a family. They served me eggs and bacon and all I could ask was, where’s the bread? So they gave me toast, you know, the sliced bread out of the plastic bag. I knew I was in for a shock then! I’ve since recovered and I have that bread at home too now. :-)

  4. I want that croissant! Now! Please…. The bakery on Cleveland’s east side where I used to get these sometimes went out of business but Trader Joe’s has some frozen ones that you let rise overnight and then bake in the morning, that really are quite good.


    • Oh, I love the ones from Trader Joe’s, they’re so fresh and flaky. These are from our regular grocery store but they’re made with real butter for authentic taste. I warm them up in the toaster oven to crisp them a bit and melt the chocolate. Delicious!

  5. I have a few little treasures from my travels :-)

  6. I like culture which involves food :)

  7. As a tiny American, I am as puzzled as you are by the American inclination towards BIG things . . . .My father took us to France for many sabbatical years, and my book collection still includes some French pastry cookbooks (and the entire series of Tintin hardcover books). Now if only I could cook…..

    • I think that obsession with big is pretty recent, maybe in the past 50 years. Homes and cars have doubled in size since then!
      I bet your Tintin collection is worth a fortune. I personally love Astetix and I’ve read a few of them with my son in French and English.
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  8. I love it whenever different cultures can mix and maybe even learn from each other – especially where food is concerned. :) I’m not sure if there’s any culture in my house, but if there is it’s probably a mixture of different places like Ireland and Italy.

  9. A culture I can totally relate to. Children books, sweets, superhero items, these are just a few of the culture of our kids that makes us always up on our feet and beaming with joy.

  10. I m french american raised In Paris France, leaving in Luxembourg married to a Dutch man, our 3 kids are born in Luxembourg !

    I was raised with 2 culture, 2 language , and I m raising my kids with 3!

    How long have you been in the us? And where? Where from in France!

    I guess I ll have to use Wikipedia for the guy you be just mentioned! Don t be to hard on yourself!

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