“James” had not been a international traveller. He had never been to Europe until he visited France for the first time at age 29. Subsequently, he would find himself in various encounters with other Americans in Europe.
One example was a retired soldier who truly inspired him:
“I parachuted near here on D-Day,” he announced.
Another was an expat who left him feeling puzzled:
“We’re from L.A.,” she said. “My husband works in Paris, and we’re on vacation. He had to go to the States for a time by himself. I thought the boys would like to see Normandy.” She concluded as one of her sons gestured restlessly that he wanted to sit on her lap and she waved a hand trying to dissuade him.
And another was a study abroad student who turned him off totally:
“Natalie,” James interrupted in turn, “this Amber isn’t really an average American girl, trust me. She sounds demented.”
He hadn’t really made an American friend while he was abroad.
Time for another “sneak peek.”