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“Si si la Famille!”

Hey Willamette! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Before starting this article about my interpretation of the “Modern Family” in France – based on personal experiences, observations and information – I would like to take a few lines to honour what has become another family of mine, as I was abroad for long period the first time in my life: and I’m talking about You, Willamette.

As somedbody who got the chance to come from the other side of the planet to spend a year in your community, I just want to let you know how grateful I am for having had such a wonderful opportunity, with total awesomeness of which was made possible by the incredible kindness and sense of community that reigns on this campus. Above all, I would like to remind you that, no matter what happens, you are incredibly lucky to be part of such a great community, being part of a social experiment leading the way to what tomorrow’s brighter world could look like, if you believe hard enough in it. Stay united, love each other, and just watch happiness spread itself all around the world!

That being said, let me now tell you about what “Famille” means to me, today, in France.

As a traditionally Catholic nation, Family has always been a major core of my country’s structure. The government, institutions and a whole set of value all flow down from the notion of family, and its importance in our cultural and social constructs is seriously notorious. However, things have changed a lot throughout history, and I will leave all this aside to focus on the situation nowadays, as it would take a looot of time in researching and writing to provide you with accurate stuff, and I just don’t know enough – yet.

The typical family structure that was widespread and mainstream for centuries in the past – with the father working and providing for the family, the mother staying at home and taking care of the children, with those going to school, studying and leaving the house once they reach independence/find a job somewhere/marry – is simply not relevant anymore. Of course, you will still find families structured that way, for the evolution of our societies led to many changes in regards to these “gender roles” observations. It is common now to see fathers taking more time to educate their children, as well as to expect mothers to lead a professional career in parallel.

As far as my family is concerned, for example, my father has always been the one spending the most time at work – outside our household, first as a policeman, and now as a marina manager. On the other hand, my mother worked part-time as a nurse while taking us to school and everywhere around, which is widespread nowadays in our society.

As I have an older brother (of 29) and an older sister (of 27), I was able to observe the evolution and variations of when children leave the family household and why. These past decades, there has been a trend towards more independence wanted by young adults once they reach a certain age. Indeed, when they turn 18, 19, 20, most of our youngsters feel the need to leave the family home to start living their own life, with more independence, more freedom, and more responsibilities. However, recently, mostly due to economic troubles, more young adults rationally choose to stay longer at home with their parent in order to finish their studies, save money for rainy days and get more prepared for some uncertain – yet truly exciting – future.

In my family, with exception for my brother who left early to go study, work and live in Belgium, this has been partly confirmed, and justified by other reasons such as realizing the importance of spending quality time with your family (not only during holiday celebrations) while you get the chance. Indeed, in a constantly evolving globalized world, everybody is aware that some of us might (and sometimes actually do, like my brother) settle far away, for a more or less extended period of time. This triggers behaviors of adaptation, giving more value to the time spent in and around the family. Regardless, in most cases, it remains the “nest” you can always go back to and count on no matter what, a reassuring symbol of safety in the storm of life.

Nowadays in France, there are rarely such things as several generations living in the same houses (like grandparents spending the rest of their life with everybody else in the same house). The typical scheme I’ve observed is that a generation will stay in the family house as long as they possible can, while children would all settle in their home family house, and so on, multiplying like brightening sparks from the same warm fire. It used to be fairly common to settle not so far from your parents’ house, but as the world is ever opening, I don’t feel like it’s true anymore.

Well, at least not for me… *hidden message to those who read between line*

Anyway! In my family, keeping in touch with grandparents, spending quality time with them, not only out of  some sort of “moral duty”, but way more by love, willingness of sharing with them, learning from them and giving back all that they did for us, is a really important thing.

Voilà une photo de ma famille!

Take care of your loved ones, and do never hesitate to show them how you feel about them, to express with sincerity what they mean to you.

Because, ya know, Love is a universal Language!

Happy Thanksgiving, Willamette <3

BONUS: If you’ve heard somewhere that Disney songs sound better in French, here’s the straightest way to check it out! By the way, if it’s gray and raining in your mind one of these mornings, feel free to listen to this, you’ll see, it works better than Vitamin D or even spirulina powder! –>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsIoOzX5p18


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