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Swaying

"When I waved goodbye, my parents said, "Don't fall in love with a Frenchman!" I laughed and said, "Of course not." I arrived in the fall, fresh out of college, with years of French behind me, only to discover that I couldn't pronounce the name of the place where I was going. Grenoble. Or rather I couldn't pronounce it the French way.... People would look at me and say, "Pardon?" They made it sound like another place. I said Grenoble, they said Pardon..."

Published in "Swaying, Essays on Intercultural Love," edited by Jessie Carroll Grearson & Lauren B. Smith (University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, 1995).