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I received an email from a reader this morning. It was written in private rather than as a comment in an effort not to make me feel uncomfortable, which I thought very kind.  However, with permission I am relating the subject in this post. It concerns the purpose of this website, our raison d’être. I told the author of the email that I suppose other readers might have a similar question and asked if perhaps I could share the question and my response.

The question, as I’ve mentioned, dealt with how this blog differs from the many others that speak of showing ‘real life’ in Paris, promising to unveiling truths only known to residents of this fabulous city and country.

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I very much appreciated this email as it gives me a chance to outline, perhaps in more clarity, my purpose in writing here each week, what I hope to share through my words and videos.

This is the story of one person’s journey into a new life and the effects of that change on the woman she once was, the person she is today and the self she will inevitably become. Five years ago, I left a life I had no real reason to want to leave except for some internal yearning for something more. I had an established successful career, a fiancé, a lovely apartment. Yet something was missing, something was incomplete. At first I couldn’t quite put my finger on the source of my angst until one day through heartache and disillusion it all became remarkably clear. On faith, I made a giant leap forward. The rest is Becoming Madame.

The backdrop of this story is Paris, France, but its goal is other than to highlight the fashionable, glamorous, trendy and tasty sides of the city. I have a number of great links in my blogroll where all that information and fun can be found.

My goal is to unveil what it is like to take on a new culture, a new life, a new family, a new language, all in the surroundings of a new country. I hope to underline some of the wisdom of this glorious old-world into which I’ve entered.

My interest in my new home – both city and country – is introspective, cultural, philosophical in nature, as I am myself. You will, by necessity, learn the ‘real’ life of the French and the Parisian as this is all part of my own experience now. It is behind this veil that I wish to take you.

But my goal is better understanding, getting to the heart of a people, analyzing differences and bridging gaps, learning their customs and asking myself why; I hope to share the adventure of arriving as a stranger and becoming a native. I hope to pull back the curtain on a culture not from the point of view of a spying American, but from the point of view of an appreciative American who’s becoming a French woman. So many incredible lessons I’ve learned about living from my belle famille, a family that can trace their ancestry in a straight line back to the Renaissance, through dukes and marquises, as many European families can. It’s all very fascinating for an American as we in our own country know so little of ancient ancestry; our country, after all, is not as old as my husband’s family.

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I’m intrigued by culture and history and in particular what modern society has cast aside in eager steps toward progress. Some of these things are simple, like eating en famille at dinner time, cooking homemade meals, how to smell a ripe melon, how to write a meaningful thank you letter by hand. Other more profound lessons I’ve learned, and will continue to learn, are about raising children, politics, cultural integration, living well in one’s own skin and the like.

It is all this knowledge and introspection which I gather by being a part of the inside of my new culture that I wish to share with my reader. I hope you will come along with me on the journey.

Special thanks to MGD for the email and kind words.

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