The Salt

The Salt



“Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that”
Michael Leunig

Ordinary people, extraordinary love.
It takes an extraordinary mix of courage, daring and optimism, to leave behind your country and all that you know in the pursuit of big love. Each week we recount tales of Franco-international couples who followed love across borders.

Welcome to our tales of Wild Love.

Chapter 2: 
Sarah (American) & Marcel (French)
Together since 1998.


We met online in the early days of internet chat rooms, in a yahoo forum for the television show ‘ER’. The concept of chat rooms was still new, and there was so such mystery attached to this new ‘friend’ that I’d made on the other side of the world. Our early conversations were laborious, neither of us being fluent in the other’s language...At the time, we were both in relationships. It seems incredible looking back, but we broke it off with our respective partners, and eight months later Marcel was on the plane to visit me in the US- all this before we’d even met in real life!

A little over a year later, I returned from a trip to meet his family in Paris, knowing that I would move to France. My mother said she could see it in my eyes- that I’d already made my decision before I even announced it. It was with a mix of generosity and trepidation that they accepted my choice. They understood that I needed to see if the relationship was something that could exist outside of the internet, and in order to do that we needed to be in the same country.
Homesickness is interesting. It doesn’t leave you exactly, but it does get easier. Learning to speak French was a turning point. Once I was able to speak their language, I found that came to understand the French more, and everything grew easier from there. There’s also this moment of acceptance; where you kind of surrender to the fact that Paris is your home now. Then it really becomes home.  

Eighteen years later, I don’t feel particularly American anymore. I don’t return to the US very often, so I’m quite detached with the country and the mentality of the people there. It’s funny- the longer you stay away from a place, the more it changes and the less you recognize it when you go back. You don’t really miss what you can’t relate to anymore.  I definitely identify more with the French than with Americans. The French are all about finding balance – they take work seriously but they also take time to enjoy life. I come from a country of extremes where we either do things too much or not enough, so this has been a refreshing revelation.
There are still moments that ache of course; births of nieces and nephews, relatives’ funerals. When a family member falls ill I feel particularly far away.  But I don’t dwell on it- you can’t. You focus on the moments you spend with your loved ones and make the best of the time you have with them.


Our love story in a word:  Adventure

‘Je t’aime’ or ‘I love you?’: Both

If I could go back in time and give myself a message it would be: Just have fun, it’ll be a roller coaster ride like no other