As I step into the boulangerie, the baker flashes me a smile of recognition. There aren't many other Americans waltzing in every morning and mangling the pronunciation of everything in sight.
With my baguette under my arm and a pastry in hand, I stuff the change into my pocket and walk down the street to the farmer’s market.
Moving to Grenoble wasn’t a conscious decision. One day passed and then another and suddenly seven months have swept past me and I'm still here, slinging a basket over my arm and parading from shop to shop in preparation for dinner.
I brush the flaky bits of pastry from my jacket and swallow the last bite of my chausson aux pommes before pulling out my shopping list.
Tomates, courgettes, champignons. I load them all into my basket.
The cashier, engulfed in a Gore-Tex jacket, stamps her feet to keep warm as she weighs my stack of misshapen tomatoes.
Directing my gaze to the rounds of cheese behind her I purchase 200 grams of comté because it's easy to say.
Later as I’m slicing tomatoes and dancing to Serge Gainsbourg, my friends burst into the kitchen, twirling around and theatrically singing along. I smile.
My France is not the Eiffel Tower or the walls of Avignon. It’s the baker grinning as I mispronounce yet another French word, my friends rifling through my cupboards to find the wine glasses, 200 grams of my favorite cheese carefully wrapped in paper. A litany of small beautiful moments that create a familiar space: home.