When I moved from Paris to Seattle five years ago, it wasn’t a totally joie de vivre decision but more a comme ci comme ca change of life. I didn’t expect much from Seattle because, as all snobbish Parisians think, Paris was my raison d’etre. Seattle, in my mind, was an industrial rainy city lost in the far reaches of the Northwestern US. What could I expect of Seattle coming from Paris?
First, I didn’t expect such a gourmet city. Seattle is an avant-garde scene par excellence of French Northwest Asian organic fusion/local food which is certainly the longest noun phrase you can ever imagine. Seattle must claim the invention of complex noun phrase.
To give you an idea, for ESL students it is a tour de force to order a coffee. First you have to understand the concept of a noun phrase; second you need to guess the order of the words:
Should I say “Grande non fat double shot vanilla no whip café au lait?” or should I say “Grande double shot vanilla non fat no whip café au lait?”
You tell me. Or maybe both of them are wrong, who knows…Touché. The responsible party for this grammatical issue: Starbucks (www.starbucks.com) of course!
Second, I didn’t expect this je ne sais quoi that Seattle produces on Seattleites. The only certainty is that French people have a hard time returning to France after a few years in Seattle.
Why really? I don’t know but c’est la vie isn’t it?!