‘Yes’ people in a ‘No’ culture

France is a country that will always be part and parcel of our family. I grew up here, Tall Mountain and I dated and got married here. Despite living in the American Rocky Mountains for six years, I spoke French to our children from the first day they were born. In all these ways and more, it is a very familiar place nestled into the very core of our hearts. We love it here, and it’s such a beautiful country.

Still, returning to France after almost a decade away has forced me, our in-house Third Culture Kid, to view this familiar place through a new lens. Largely, we’re living a brand new adventure, with new circumstances and family dynamics.

One way we are approaching this season differently, is to actively challenge naysayers we encounter almost daily. All those foreigners who have tried to set up their own business in this country, or apply for residency or how about a bank loan, will know what I am talking about. There’s not always, but there is quite often a negative undercurrent to life’s to do lists in France.

We keep reminding each other that, wait, we are called to be ‘yes’ people in a ‘no’ culture. Some will say it’s so American or idealistic, because we all know it’s awkwardly counter-cultural to be ‘yes people’.

Nobody is skating around in the grocery aisles to ask you how they can go the extra mile to help you here. In fact, if you call a store to ask if they have, say, pita bread, they might well say ‘no, we don’t have any’ because they can’t be bothered to look. I don’t see this as a bad thing, necessarily. I see it as a sign we need to find different ways to go about our questions. And the onus is on us to be a bit more resourceful. Obvs, we keep having to watch our attitude so that we don’t allow negativity to pervade our own hearts.

You can get down so fast hearing the dreaded “mais non, c’est pas possible” before you even finish your question. But our life experience in this land tells us, the “no, it’s not possible” is rarely the final word.

I’m not entirely sure how long we will have the perseverance to keep digging until we find the yeses. But they are there and we believe we have been called to walk this new season of life, with confidence and creativity. Not in fear of hierarchy, obstacles and the ‘nos’ that lie before us.



This post was part of the #Write31Days challenge, on the topic: Our family in global transition.
You can read the other posts written this month, by clicking on the links below!

1 – French Preschool
2 – Making friends in a new land
3 – ‘Yes’ people in a ‘No’ culture
4 – How language affects transition
5 – Not all French people are foodies
6 – The apple juice party
7 – I’m the third-born
8 – French-Mex ridiculous
9 – Busted by the Swiss police
10 – Educational field trip
11 – Visitors: the good and the bad
12 – Christmas in October
13 – A good place to get sick
14 – C’est les vacances!
15 – Playdate anguish
16 – The five year plan
17 – The Q&A edition!
18 – Holidays are for world-schooling
19 – The Granny I want to be.


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