Vacances: South of France: French foodie

EV_jessimichelle_vacances_4 We're back in rainy Paris after a two week vacations to the south of france and amsterdam. I welcome the rain, as it gives me an excuse to stay in bed, listen to jazz, take my time waking up and coffee myself. Often when I return home from vacation, I see my home/ city in a new way. This is the first time I returned to Paris and felt as if I were coming home.

Our trip to the south was great! I've heard so much about the French and the way they vacation (which is often). As many of you know, France's work life balance is just that, balanced. Everyone starts out with a minimum of 5 weeks vacation. As an American, when I first heard this it sounded unbelievable, as I started with two weeks vacay when I worked in SF. I remember wondering 'What could all these Frenchies possibly do with all this extra vacation time? How can they afford to take so many trips?'. But that's another blog post.

We took a train down to the south of france to join up with Pierre's family who were also vacationing down there.

First and most importantly: the food

We ate mostly all of our meals outdoors surrounded by cypress trees, fresh herbs and sunshine. Wild herbs grow wild everywhere, so our meals were very well seasoned! Since I tend to crave savory over sweets, I find the salty foods in the south absolutely delish! They cook with a lot of seafood, especially anchovies. My favorite thing to eat there is Anchoïade! It's a provencal dip created with anchovies, olive oil, white wine vinegar and garlic. It's SO good that I brought lots back to Paris with me, I even had a request to ship some back to the states!!

Rosé is a specialty down here, and it perfectly balances all the savory dishes. Also, they have amazing pizza down here (better than italian pizza in my opinion)!

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This super salty pizza is made with anchovies, olives and capers. Paired perfectly with some rosé!

EV_jessimichelle_vacances_6EV_jessimichelle_vacances_9Copa from CorsicaIMG_4444 EV_jessimichelle_vacances_11EV_jessimichelle_vacances_3EV_jessimichelle_vacances_5EV_jessimichelle_vacances_7We visited a really cool rum bar that offers up every flavored rum one can imagine. I tried vervein and this really really really spicy rum. EV_jessimichelle_vacances_8

Needless to say, I looked forward to every single meal! Merci beaucoup to all those who feed me well :) Many more photos from the south to come!

bisous!!

-Jessi

 

Fresh Eyes

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.

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LANGUAGE

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.

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FOOD

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!

GREETING

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::

TV

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!

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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 ;)

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bisous!!

Jessi