Posted by: vlibrizzi | January 20, 2009

le cheeseburger et la quarante-quatrième président des États-Unis: a little slice of American Pie in France

Today we were quite proud to be Americans in France. I won’t get on my political soapbox and start gushing about how listening to Obama’s inauguration speech today was so inspiring and fulfilling that it moved me to tears. Instead, I wanted to write about what watching the inauguration was like here in Fonty, as I’m sure many of you have memorable inauguration stories in the US as well. 

img_1921Some of C.’s classmates reserved the bar area at INSEAD to watch the inauguration after classes (which was at 6 pm France time). I arrived at around 5 to have a drink with some friends, not thinking that too many people would actually come to see the event like us. I was just thankful to have the opportunity to watch Obama’s speech since we don’t have TV in our apartment (all the channels are in French and we don’t speak French so we figured, why bother?). You can see in the above photo the people who were sitting with me at around 5:30. 

Then, at around 6 pm I turned around (since I was sitting front and center, not willing to miss even a second of the speech) and saw what you can see iimg_1922n the photo below. By my estimate, there were at least sixty people standing around in the bar watching the event. Now, there are only 39 Americans in C.’s business school class, so that means many people of other nationalities took time out of their busy day to stop and watch our new president get sworn in. I couldn’t believe it! Seeing all those people made me realize how much influence our country has, and more importantly, how inspiring Obama is to not only us adoring Americans, but to people all over the world. 

At the end of Obama’s speech, everyone applauded like we were in a concert hall. The comraderie in the room, despite the fact that we were all from different parts of the globe, was so moving and inspiring….it was a moment I think I’ll remember forever. 

C. and I, and a few of our American friends continued our celebration of our new president’s inaguration by img_1919having dinner together at the INSEAD restaurant where they served an “American dinner” to mark the occasion. As you can see on the menu in the photo, we had our choice between the (very American) cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, spare ribs, or jambalaya (and we wonder why Americans are so obese!). The restaurant manager must have been just as moved by Obama’s message of fellowship and hopefulness too, because he gave us Americans a free bottle of wine to celebrate our new president. So there we sat eating our cheeseburgers and nuggets—a group of ex-patriates in a faraway land, feeling very proud of our heritage, and more at home than we have felt in a very long time.


  1. Facinating…….the amount of interest in our new President and his Inauguration. I think it bodes well for our country now that leadership is back on the radar screen. The pictures tell the story.Thanks for sharing!

  2. That was a lovely post!

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