Funny French things

Trip Start Sep 04, 2006
Trip End Dec 24, 2006

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Flag of France  ,
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Back in Nantes and my life here can finally get started.

I was pleased to discover yesterday morning that I can understand the majority of what is going on on the radio. The most random thing I heard - an interview with that classic Frenchman Gerard Depardieu began. Depardieu mumbled and grunted for a bit, and then said he was depressed. 5 seconds later, he said he wasn't depressed. Then I had to leave for school. Very random.

I woke up yesterday morning with a very sore throat and I wondered if it was from speaking too much French. (English is forbidden on our program, so the only times I use it are writing or calling someone in America or when I don't know the French word and am too lazy to talk round in circles to describe what I'm trying to say)

A few random differences here:
- Toilets are in a separate room from the sink, in which the toilet is the only thing there.
- Bread is eaten with absolutely every meal, and is put directly on the table, since it accompagnies the meal rather than being part of it.
- Everyone comes home for lunch, including the kids from school and the parents from work. I typically am just supposed to eat breakfast and dinner with them, so I don't, however.
- Cars park on the sidewalk. This is perfectly acceptable.
- Air-conditioning is advertised as a novel feature in restaurants and hotels. It gets very hot in my unairconditioned school and apartment.
- Doors always remain closed.
- Everything shuts down at night - stores that stay open past 7-7:30 are rare, and 24 hour stores are unheard-of.
- We're lucky - in France, gas is about $1.50 per LITRE (that's about 5-6 per gallon)
- You say "bonjour" to someone the first time you see them in a day, but not any time the rest of the day - you've already greeted them that day.
- Snakes on a Plane is "Les Serpents dans un Avion"
- Politics, religion, and everything else are regularly discussed at the dinner table and in every other social situation.
- You speak to people in the formal "vous" until they invite you do do otherwise.
- It rains. A lot.

Also, I discovered today that a croque-monsieur (an open-faced grilled ham and cheese sandwich) with a pineapple on top is really, really incredibly delicious. Bravo to the Cafe Moliere...that's some French cuisine I can make myself at home in 2 minutes. The Muscadet (the white wine made in this area, which is very good and actually very inexpensive) we had with it is probably harder to get at home, though.

Moreover, French grammar review class is the devil. It's not hard, just incredibly, incredibly boring.
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