I have been slacking on the blog lately. I really do need to do this more often so I can keep track of my time in France. The past two weeks have mostly been settling in and getting to know family and the kids that I will be caring for. The kids(J&C) are finally getting used to me. They cannot say Jolie, so they call me Gigi.
I haven’t done many touristy things yet because I was busy, but this week I am going to try to do a lot. I want to go back to the Eiffel tower and take some time for pictures.
I have found that I have already learned a lot about French culture in my two weeks living in France. I think I will be very comfortable here. I will feel much better once I start school, though. I need to study more French so I can speak a little better!
Some things I have learned so far:
French stereotypes: some are true, and some are not.
1.French people are dirty: not true for the most part. However, you do come across some B.O. on the metro. I know some Americans cannot get over the fact that women here do not shave their armpits. I was next to a woman on the metro who was holding onto the pole right next to me, and I could clearly see her armpit hair. She was clean and nicely dressed. I find its mostly men that stink. The family that I live with shower their kids twice a day. So, it depends on the person, not the nationality.
2.The French don’t eat a lot: The reason why Parisian women are skinny is because they walk everywhere. There is a book about how French women eat and it says they eat small portions of good food. Well, I thought maybe that was true because I live with two men(I’ll call them F&C) as my host family and they eat a lot. However, we went to lunch today and F’s mother ate an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. It was not small servings. She is a skinny Parisian woman. Every time I have gone to Paris I walk 5-6 miles. My family here is always telling me I do not eat enough. After dinner they eat cheese and then after cheese they eat cake. It’s a nice change from Americans who find not eating and being on a diet a good thing. Clean eating is the key.
3. French people are rude: This just depends on the person I guess. Most people I have come across have been very nice. I have gone to cafes and they spoke English with me. One waiter asked me if I would rather French or English, because he could tell I knew some of both. However, I smile way too much for Parisians. I am learning not to smile at random people on the street. It’s weird to do it here and you get unwelcome advances from French men. This is city for women with resting bitch face. Come here and you will fit in.
I have noticed a lot of other things while I have been here. French people like to eat very clean and the government invests a lot of money studying what goes into your food. Everything they eat is organic, just look for anything marked BIO in the French market. This is organic products. We eat fresh bread. The meat that the family gets is from the open market. The people who they buy it from say to eat it within 4 days, because there are no preservatives. I have had two different types of French Boudin. It is similar to Boudin from Louisiana, but they have different stuffing. One had apples in it and was one of my favorite meals so far. As much as they like healthy food, they also love Pringles. Before lunch today, we had Champagne. The snacks with Champagne was mixed nuts and Pringles.
We should adopt the tradition of having Champagne before lunch on Sunday. It was very enjoyable for me. 🙂 I am learning a lot about wine. I tried a Porto, which is a Portuguese wine that is 19% concentrated. I had another wine from a region in Burgundy this week. There are so many regions in Burgundy, though. I forgot the name of this wine. Fun French wine fact: It is illegal in France to add sugar to the wine. The wine is only sweet because of the grape.
I also know why French people do not like dogs. There is dog crap everywhere. When you walk everywhere and you have to be aware and lookout to make sure you do not step in it, I get it. I was walking behind a Parisian woman and her dog on Thursday observing this. She let her dog pee on a trashcan, then the dog peed on someone’s car. I get it now. I understand that there is no grass, and its not like you can bring your dog to Luxembourg Gardens to go to the bathroom. I love dogs and I couldn’t imagine people not liking them, but it all makes sense now.
Tomorrow, I am meeting some au pairs for coffee. It will be a lot of us there and I think a few are going to my school. We are meeting at a café called Café Kitsune. It is in Le Palais Royal, which is near The Louvre. There are some Shops on Rue de Rivoli near the Louvre that I want to visit. I need a backpack for school. My school is in a very upscale neighborhood, so I could not get a backpack near there. To give you an idea, I walk past Lonchamp and Hermes on the way to school, and Chanel is down the street. It’s a nice walk for me.
I was asked if it is as beautiful in person. Yes, it is. I haven’t even seen a lot of Paris yet. My favorite place so far is Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. The view of the whole city from Sacré-Cœur is breathtaking. The musicians on the corners in Montmartre are quintessentially Parisian. The streets are small and a little confusing. This is the first place I had to ask where the metro was. I love it there.
I will try and write more often so I do not have to write a novel next time.
à plus tard