I’m off to Texas for work and I’m noticing, as I go through security or board the shuttle bus, that my interactions with strangers are a little different: more eye contact, more enthusiasm in my “hello,” closer attention to the needs of others.
Is this a result of having just returned from a wonderful vacation or is this some of those Parisian manners rubbing off on me? When addressing others in French – regardless of their role – it is considered polite to add “Madame” or “Monsieur” to the beginning or end of your sentence. Throughout our nine days there, we had countless interactions where we greeted people, thanked them, and said our good-byes, all accompanied with the equivalent of “Ma’am” or “Sir.” While I would sound rather silly literally adopting French speech patterns in English – “Good day, sir! Thank you very much for taking my luggage! United Airlines, if it pleases you!” – I think the respectful tone has been integrated somewhat into my speech. Perhaps that’s the difference that I’m noticing.
I am also noticing a rejuvenated love for what I do for a living. I considered many careers prior to choosing education – interior design, journalism, ballet, marine biology – but ultimately decided that serving was what I wanted most to do. It is easy to forget that this is the driving force of choosing such a profession. We get resentful, frustrated, even dulled to the power of what we do. Yet after a week of being surrounded by the most stunning architecture, artwork, design, music, and food, I have the sensation of having been recharged or refilled, and thus, am able to return to work with contentment for my life and enthusiasm for my chosen profession.
May 2013 bring joy to you & yours!