Friday, March 26, 2010

USA, Meet France

Not much has been going on this week. School is good... and almost over. We have break starting next Thursday, which is when I leave on my grand trip to London, Barcelona, Pisa and Florence. And then after that I have 1 week before all my finals. I'll be done on the 28th of April. So instead of telling you about what I did this week and going to talk about some of the differences I've noticed that I haven't written down yet.

The stoplights here are different. They aren't over the road. They are actually just little poles on the side of the road with little lights about the size of a tennis ball. Good thing I don't drive here or I think I would miss them completely. Stop signs look exactly the same and say the same thing.

The parking spaces are so so so small. I swear most of the people in France spend hours and hours of time just trying to park and get out of parking spots. And have any of you seen those little toy cars for kids that have a lever on each side and when it hits something the lever switches over and it goes the other direction until it hits something on that side? Well, that's how I feel cars in France are. Back until you hit...forward until you hit... haha everyone has their back and front bumpers just a little dented.

Walking around you see all the cars side mirrors folded inwards. At first I wondered why until I realized that everywhere you go you hit them with your bags, or elbows (ouch), and as I can imagine...with bikes and other various things. Either you are smart and fold your mirrors in when you get out of your car or you lose them. That's just the way it is.

The train is the best form of transportation in France. It's pretty expensive if you don't have a discount card but it's really easy to get anywhere in Europe that way, and the TGV was the fastest train in the world until the Japanese made a faster one.

When you eat with a French family you always have bread. Though it doesn't go on the plate. It goes on the table. And if you can reach something at the table you grab it, no need to ask someone to pass it. That would just be bothering them while they were eating ;)

Wine and cheese is a regular thing here. Cheese is normally eaten after dinner, before dessert. Or sometimes for dessert. But there is always dessert. It's just not french not to have dessert! Which for me is just weird because my family always grew up without dessert. Maybe that why I'm so dang skinny!

The bathroom never has the toilet in it. There is a separate room for the toilet. The sinks and shower go together and the toilet can either be across the hall or the next door over. It's...I guess a good idea so someone can be in the shower and someone else can use the toilet at the same time. Just don't flush the toilet because that seriously burns.

The French thinks it's weird that we say "cheese" when we smile for our pictures. They don't say "fromage"...unless they're with me of course. Then it's funny. (see video below)

I was talking with my parent's friend Noel and his family the other day. And we were talking about how the US thinks they are the center of the world. His daughter pointed at the map and said but we are really the center of the world, in the center of the map. And she was right. However the map looked like this:

And in that case she was very right. But in the US our maps look a little more like this:

That's just an interesting fun fact.

Bars close here at 2 just like they do in the States. But that's when the dance clubs open. And they are open till 4 or 5 in the morning. Life in France is nothing but night life. Then they all sleep till 2 in the afternoon the next day.

If you are sick, you go to the doctor. Even if it's a cold. Or anything for that matter. You have a cough? Go to the doctor. You twisted your ankle? Go to the doctor. You have a headache? Go to the doctor. the last on I was exaggerating, but seriously. I had a cold and Romain force fed me medicine, he told me I was as stubborn as a 4 year old. I had a cold. It will be gone in 3 days. My friend Alban twisted his ankle, and granted it was pretty bad, he got a cast. In the states they'd maybe wrap it for you and give you crutches. He got crutches and a cast, which he had on for 2 weeks. Oh and he didn't have to pay for it either. No wonder they go to the doctor all the time. Gotta take advantage of that free medical care.

The French love their breaks! We didn't start school till the 25th of January and then we got a break in February 15th for one week, which was only like 3 weeks into school. Then we're getting a two week break starting next week until the 18th. Then we're done on the 28th. I love this school system!

Well, the French do think they are better than us, so maybe that is where the stuck-up French stereotypes come from, but many of the young people actually want to live in the US. Apparently it's the French dream to live in America.

I've been listening to Frank Sinatra because for some reason his music reminds me of France and I love that from now every time I hear his songs they will remind me of the time I lived France.

Anyway, I did do one thing this week that is worth taking about. For Aaron's birthday Jacqueline made us Escargot. So I have officially eaten escargot, frog legs, and caviar in the last few months. Crazy! I love France.


  1. I'm sorry the second half of this post if formatted weirdly and I can't changed it. Each paragraph is a different idea but since they are smashed together it sounds weird. Sorry and I hope you all can understand.

  2. haha! So this comment has nothing to do with the video, really... I love that outfit! Granted I can only see half of it but it looks very cute :) You've become somewhat French! I wonder how that happened ;)