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.