French Proverb

“Loin des yeux, près du coeur.”

“Far from the eyes, close to the heart.”

Helene goes to school at the University of Southern California.  She is a Civil/ Environmental Engineering student and is diligently working towards her bachelor’s degree.  She is considering going to law school after she graduates in order to ultimately practice environmental law.

Helene told me that this proverb is equivalent to the American proverb: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  Helene was born and raised in France with her with her sister and her mother; her father currently lives in Toronto, Canada.  She came to America for the first time in 2008 when she was moving into her dorm room at USC in Los Angeles, CA.  She says that this proverb is very popular in France, and she does not remember exactly where she heard it from.  She believes she was around ten when she first heard this proverb, but does not remember the context in which it was first said.  Helene lives in Los Angeles away from her sister and mother in France and father in Canada.

Helene says that often, when she thinks of her sister and family, she thinks of this proverb.  She says that what it means to her is that even though she is away from her family and does not see them even nearly as often as she would like, her sister and family are still very present in her thoughts and that she holds them dear in her heart.  The phrase is often said in circumstances where one is forced to be separated from those he or she loves due to circumstances out of their control.  It is used to comfort and as a reminder that though they are far apart, their bond and love for each other cannot be broken or deteriorated.

While talking to Helene about this proverb, I found out that she and her sister both believe this proverb and both use it to explain their current situation.  They both know that no matter how far apart they are from each other, they will never love each other less and that their bond will only grow stronger with distance.  Personally, I both agree and disagree with her interpretation of the proverb.  She says that the French proverb is equivalent to the American proverb: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  I feel like this is true in certain circumstances.  I have first-handedly witnessed and experienced both instances that either prove this proverb true or subvert it.  I feel as though if two love each other enough or are connected to each other and share enough history together, this proverb is very true.  In other situations, I believe that the opposite is true, which is related to the proverb: “Out of sight; out of mind.” Distance between two people who do not have enough connecting them will ultimately result in the deterioration of the relationship. Unless there is history that bonds the people together, there will be nothing to hold the relationship together.