we all exist in some sort of ish... what is your ish?
March 15, 2023

Exercise your Cultural Connection: Dedication to my French-ish

Exercise your Cultural Connection: Dedication to my French-ish

Culture is Intricately Linked To People

In the last minisode, I explained how in my understanding, culture is intricately linked to the people we know and the people we love from that culture. I say that based on my own experience. My relationship with France and French culture has changed over time. At some point in time I was very enamored by everything French. When I was a young kid I even thought I was French. Then I moved back there for my studies, and things started to shift.

I have a complicated relationship with France, and that relationship reflects the complex relationship I have with my own family— because French is the language we grew up speaking at home, especially with my parents. And French culture is the culture I associate with my parents, it’s their adopted culture of choice, as they both had difficult relationships with their cultures of origin.

Moving Back to France as an Adult

I remember my first week back in Paris where I was bubbly, happy to be there, filled with curiosity and love for the city I was born in. At some point I interacted with someone who turned to me and said, “You must be new in town, because that energy will dim with time.” I looked at her a little shocked. But three years into living there, she wasn’t wrong. That excitement definitely waned over time.

Keep That Relationship Alive

Regardless of my changing feelings about everything French, I do want to keep that relationship alive. So in last month’s issue of The QUEST. Newsletter, I decided to exercise my French culture, by discovering new French music. As a teenager I was obsessed with creating playlists, one for every one of my moods. Admittedly, today I don’t spend as much time on that but I do still enjoy creating a playlist to match an activity, memory, or state of mind.

In past month I spent some time exploring new French music. This exercise was strangely emotional. Some songs, even though they were new discoveries, reminded me of childhood, other songs reminded me of my more recent stint in France, and some even bring back vivid memories of specific experiences: time spent sipping wine on Parisian rooftops philosophizing about life, to roadtrips we took as children when the cassette tapes played for hours until we reached our destination, and to tense times living in Paris through the troublesome years during the Charli Hebdo shooting and the Bataclan attacks.

French Cinema and Music Hits Different

In all my cultures, I find French cinema to be the most impactful and by far the most profound. It’s doesn’t have that happy-go-lucky feel of Hollywood productions. And personally, I love the realness. Even though that is more commonly known in French cinema, the same spirit spills over in French music. So here it is, the playlist I created over the past month. I discovered quite a few new artists, and many new songs. I want to share this playlist with you, and I hope it resonates.


Mais c'est comme ça les familles,
on peut s'aimer comme on se détruit
Angèle, Le Temps Fera Les Choses


What about you? Did you create a playlist to exercise an element of your ish? I’d love to hear it! This was the very first exercise for the Exercise your culture portion of The QUEST. Newsletter. Sign-up to get future QUESTs.