Whoa, I can't believe I've been here for almost 5 months!!? What!! cray. It's been awhile since I've sat down and written a post. It's all too easy to just post photos to tell my story ;) I have a friend from the states who is visiting tomorrow. I'm SO excited because I haven't seen her since the fall and it will be her first time in France, Europe even! I'm looking forward to getting to experience Paris again but through her fresh eyes.
Many people have been asking me the main differences I'm experiencing in Parisian life vs life in the states. I wasn't able to answer these questions until after really spending some time analyzing. There are indeed many many differences in our cultures. They're not all that shocking, just different. But slowly, I can feel myself adjusting so well to the point where Parisian life is becoming the norm.
It's become normal for me to hear French all day everyday. Yet, I find I still get pretty exhausted after speaking, listening & engaging in french conversations after about 2 hours. Not only am I learning a new language, but also how to tell time with military time, check the temperature, measure/ weigh things and counting money with my new numbers!! I feel like I'm a kid all over again learning how to survive in the world!
I do however find myself losing my random english words. I keep forgetting how to say "washer/ washing machine" in english and keep referring to it as "the thing that washes clothes". Which by the way I'm happy to announce that mostly all apts here come with washer hook-ups in the units <--- This is something my all SF people will understand!! No more walking two blocks up hill to do laundry. It's the little things in life :)
Most used french word: "Pardon"; like any big city, people are everywhere and forever bumping into each other. This is really the only french word you need to know. As well as bonjour, vin, pain au chocolat, merci & au revoir!
Most difficulty with: accidentally using the informal "tu" with people I don't know when I should be saying "vous", I offend people on a daily basis.
My body has adjusted to the French meal schedule. A sweet breakfast, lunch, le goûter and dinner. When I first moved here, I found myself missing, craving and longing for savory American breakfasts. Now-a-days the craving just isn't there. Le goûter can be looked at as an afternoon indulgment. It usually consists of a coffee and a sweet snack like a pain au chocolat [chocolate croissant]. yum. For lunch and dinner courses, it's pretty standard to have your main course followed by cheese with baguette. There's a "cheese box" in my fridge filled with no less than 4 different types of cheeses at all times. At this moment we have Camembert, Chevre, Gouda, Saint Nectaire and laughing cow. It has my fridge smelling all kinds of crazy. Then of course there's dessert. In the states I NEVER ate dessert and now it's like I need it to tell my body it's time to stop eating.
I'm very impressed with the quality of food here. It's very fresh and doesn't contain all the extra crap you sometimes find in the states. I've also noticed, along with many other people who have lived in france, that I'm able to eat a lot of "naughty" foods daily (tons of carbs, sugars and fats) and lose weight without much effort. The food is simply amazing here.
Not only do people KNOW about food here, they are curious about it and always trying to make their dishes better. Mostly ALL conversations I hold with French people turns to food somehow. So much to the point where I just expect every conversation to end up there. Also, kids here know how to make things from scratch, I love it!
The :::kiss kiss::: action that happens when you say hello is becoming pretty standard for me. But there have been times where I've offended people & embarrassed my fiancé because I forgot to kiss kiss someone upon arrival to a party etc ::le sigh::
I have noticed that French tv is significantly LESS violent than american tv. Every time I do hear shooting on the tv I look over and it's an American show every time!
OTHER LIL' DIFFERENCES
- The personal space 'bubble' is much smaller here.
- French social circles are small. Quality over quantity, which I completely agree with!!
- KFC seems to be quite the hot spot for friday night dinners
- I got sick recently and mostly everyone (including the doctor) told me to just go outside and take a walk, open the windows, have some warm milk with honey... I'm all like can a girlfriend get some medicine!?
- McDonalds are nice here and have cafes inside of them with macarons and other pastries
All-in-all I'm learning a lot about life and about myself here. Not gonna lie, I wasn't the happiest of campers when I first arrived. I was homesick and missing my friends and life back home. Though, I realized I couldn't fully enjoy Paris until I let go of San Francisco. Gotta let go of the past to make room for new memories yadda-yadda. That first step has proven itself to work wonders. I've made new friends and am thankful for all the gifts I have here. Especially, my special someone ;)