Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh, mon dieu, signs you’ve been in France too long

Sometimes I find myself doing things that are so very… French. And I get a little scared. Example:

1. I sit down with a mountain of ironing in front of the TV because since they don’t believe in dryers here (or you’re considered rather extravagant if you do have one), my clothes are more wrinkled than if they’d gone through the permapress cycle on mom’s Whirlpool dryer. Result: loads of ironing to do and I have to schedule it in my week.

2. I say things like “oh la la” even when I’m speaking English or the sound “up” when I put something up (the “sound” equivalent of “there we are/there you go”).

3. I buy about three types of cheeses at the store in hopes of lasting a week but sometimes have to go out for more before the next trip.

4. I don’t blink an eye when I hear that some people have eight weeks of paid holidays due to the “normal” five we get here and then their extra hour bank. That’s because they officially work 35 hours a week but in fact 39 so those extra four go to holidays. For the record, I don’t have this kind of job but wish I did.

5. I eat my lettuce after the meal, not as a side salad, even when I’m alone and could do otherwise.

6. I think that once May arrives, with its three public holidays, and also June 1st this year, there’s really no point in doing anything serious. After that comes summer and everything’s pretty much closed in August.

7. I think a day when we get past 85° F is hot. That’s called autumn in Alabama (wink, wink). I still can’t think in Celsius though.

8. On Sundays I sort of dress up to take a walk (yes, it’s really silly). Ok, I generally do wear comfortable shoes, but I don’t wear sweatpants. Other Americans have written about this phenomenon, too. I’ve seen ladies in the country wearing skirts and pumps to walk around the village on a sunny Sunday.

9. I say things like, yes, this wine does go well with the cheese. And no, thanks, I’ll pass on the liver, but beef tongue’s ok. (It tastes like roast beef, if you can get past the texture.)

10. And lastly, after a recent trip to Quick, the Belgian answer to McDonald’s, I said I was actually disappointed. There was more sauce than meat and I felt rather heavy after the meal. I said a Subway sandwich would have suited me better. Big sigh of relief, my American roots have not disappeared.


Lindle said...

Another sign you've been in France too long---You, my dear, speak with a French accent! Plus, you sometimes have to ponder for the English word for something.
C'est la vie!
You also eat all of your meals in sessions--the entree, the veggies, the salad, the cheese or yogurts---you have become quite French over these years....
....and you've probably forgotten how to "supersize" your meals at McDonald's. You know Americans eat a lot!

Jessamyn said...

Hey, don't worry. We'll pack in intense American/Alabama traditions when you come. How about a Milo's hamburger with a fried apple pie and sweet tea? And when we make a salad, it will be lettuce, cucumbers, tomato, olives, avocado, etc. And we'll stock you up on basic walmart stuff like Ibuprofen, cold meds, throat lozenges - the stuff you have to go to the official pharmacy for. Then it will take awhile for those French ways to creep back in when you return. Love ya!

Crystal said...

strange irony..I was going to write a post today on the EXACT same topic (with different examples) and had planned on titling it " you know you've been in France too long when..." Very bizarre!

The only thing I really do now that is "typically French" is dressing up to take the dog out or run to the store. I'm always very tempted to throw on sweatpants and flip flops, but I live in paris and people might mistake me for a homeless person :)

Well since you read my thoughts and stole my idea for a blog post (!) I'm going to have to write about something else now!!

Lindle said...

I am curious about this "dressing up" to take a walk or walk the dog, or run to the store. You should see how Americans dress to go to the store (we at least hope they wear clothes!!!) Do people really care if you are dressed casually to take a walk? It's your life, isn't it? Why can't you be yourself?
Just wonderin'

Jenenz said...

I just love it when the conversation turns to food! Ah, oui, have you been in France that long? You have wonderful long holidays over there. Sigh. And the thought of having wine and millions of cheese every day...so romantic!

Say, it's May Day. How do the French celebrate May 1st?

parlezvouskiwi said...

"And no, thanks, I’ll pass on the liver, but beef tongue’s ok." Hahaha thats hilarious. Reminds me of when I was in France and tried foie gras for the first time (without knowing what it was!). But it was divine.

Just came across your blog, its great!

Holly Hollyson said...

I would eat far too much cheese if I were in France! I now think that it is cold when it is less than 25 degrees in summer, we have traded places there!