Mommy are we French Yet? Tales of an American Family Living in the Franceby Shawn Underwood
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If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live in another country for a year with your children, in Mommy, Are We French Yet? you will discover that it is not an insurmountable task. But it’s made doubly rewarding when the day to day chores and challenges are approached with humor. Shawn Underwood moved her family, her husband and three kids along with her sister’s family, to the south of France to experience the joys and frustrations of living abroad first hand.
Whether running headlong into the language barrier, where faux pas are a given and the best way to communicate is with a smile or just trying to shop at the local market, keeping a sense of humor is the key to overseas success! As she and her extended family travel in France and throughout Europe and Egypt among other countries, they learned that being a good ambassador for your country is worth its weight in gold. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions!
Come along with Shawn and her family as they learn to embrace the local culture, even if it means eating pig intestines or trying to cook turkey American style. Whatever happens, the chocolate is sublime in any language!
I do admit the language barrier is becoming an increasing problem . . . for Craig. I, on the other hand, am getting along famously when the French speaker talks SLOWLY. Today, for instance and after much debate, the kids and I all agreed to brave the hair salon. Unfortunately, the head beautician in the male/female salon is a “fast talker,” my pleas of “lentemont si vous plait,” (slow please) falls on deaf ears and disaster looms on the horizon.
Before driving to the hairdresser for the kid’s haircuts, I make a quick phone call to my sister, Shannon, who professes to have mastered the French language. I asked her for the appropriate phrases to use with the hairdresser. “I don’t know the word for hedgehog in French.” Says Shannon. Too bad, the word hedgehog is a perfect description of Conner’s spiky current haircut. However all is not lost, she gives me a few key phrases to use for Austin’s “do.”
The kids fight on the way to the hairdresser about who has to get their hair cut first. They are all nervous, I’m not sure if this is about the upcoming trimmings or their lack of faith in my language skills.
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Meet the Author
I grew up in Bellevue, Washington, where I attended an all girls Catholic school. Given the choice to attend a public or private high school , I chose public school, whereupon her parents replied “wrong choice.” It was the smartest decision I never made since at the time, my fondest desire was to live in a commune. After graduating, I attended Washington State University, earning a B.A. in Speech and a Graduate Degree in Audiology—fields that proved to be particularly useless in my future endeavors as a humor writer.
Over the years I held a wide variety of jobs, which provided excellent fodder for my writing, if not excellent wages. I failed to make my mark as a strawberry picker due to my languid picking style and flipping burgers left me feeling greasy. I also worked as an ‘under’ maid to the rich and famous in a resort town where I served appetizers at secret service-staffed cocktail parties and picked up the dirty underclothes of important people.
Fortunately, I did eventually find my true calling. I am currently the humor columnist for my local online newspaper www.b-townblog.com, where I pose as “Underwood-Undercover.” Thus far, my celebrity status as the only humor columnist in town has garnered neither free dinners at my favorite restaurants nor slashed tires. I also contribute to www.nightsandweekends.com , a website which reviews movies, books, and music. And, my short stories are featured in the “Instant Gratification” humor column.
One of my short stories, “Mom Versus Computer” was included in two 2009 anthologies: "People of Few Words— Fifty Writers From the Writers’ Showcase of the Short Humor Site.” published by Lulu, and in “Laugh Your Shorts Off: Short Stories to Make You Giggle by Award Winning Authors”, Published by CreateSpace.
While living in France I discovered just how much I enjoyed humorous lifestyle travel writing. Since then, I have been documenting my extensive travels on my website; www.shawnunderwood.com.
These days I divide my time between my ‘office’ in the neighborhood Starbucks, (the only place I can concentrate on my writing), my three children, two poorly behaved King Charles Cavalier Spaniels.
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