Thursday, February 3, 2011

The French: Reflections, Observations, and Nutella

 For my French conversation class we are supposed to write about cultural differences we notice as we are in France. So I thought I would give my little perspective and recount my observations.

There is an incredible amount of people begging on the Metro and in the streets. It kind of breaks your heart, but at the same time, it’s so prevalent that you just kind of get desensitized.  And even as unChrist like as this is, annoyed at it. On the Metro, they are not like normal homeless people, silent with a sign. No these ones get on the trains and give speeches about their impoverishment or leave really depressing notes on the seat next to you tell you their life’s story. It happens every day and on every train I’ve ever taken.

My favorite form of asking for handouts are the street performers. They don’t bother me at all, in fact, I quite enjoy hearing the hippie playing his loot along with a back up track of Memory from Cats. Some of them will even come on to the Metro trains and play. It’s kind of nice to get serenaded whilst you navigate the Metro. Yesterday there was this guy that was drawing in chalk outside the Pompidou Center. It was amazing so naturally I donated to his cause, 30 centième, but hey it’s something.

Totally sweet chalk art. This guy was amazing

Legit set of chalk colors. He totally worked his magic.

It’s true what you’ve heard. Parisians are really well dressed. There is no wearing of sweat pants or pajamas in public. Very different from America, and very refreshing. Also, a surprising amount of women wear high heels in just casual dress. And they aren’t always low hears, I’m talking ‘wow I bet your feet hurt really bad right now’ kind of high heels. I am always impressed by what I see people wearing. So, my biggest mistakes in packing were leaving behind my skinny jeans and my messenger bag. 99% of people, men and women wear skinny jeans every day and no one carries a backpack. My boot cut jeans are so last season and my adorable cute JanSport backpack totally scream ‘American.’ What can you do?

Another lovely part of being in France in the cheap Nutella. They love it here and so do I. In fact my love for Nutella grows daily. I actually don’t buy real Nutella. I buy the off brand called Le Prix Gagnant and Pâte à Tartiner aux Noisettes which essentially translates as spreadable paste with hazelnuts. Yum! But really, my roommate, Maddie, and I just polished off a big jar in less than 2 weeks. We may have a problem. We have taken to having Nutella on brioche toast and hot chocolate parties. I never want to go a day without consuming chocolate in some form ever again. Everything tastes better in Paris. If I don’t come back 20 lbs heavier I will be very disappointed.

Our first jar of 'Nutella' on the left and our second jar on the right
Crazed look that comes only by consuming too much of a good thing
A typical snack for Emily and Maddie

As a side note. My roommate and I just used our kitchen for the first time to make dinner. We are totally becoming French ourselves as we made a three course meal. An appetizer of cheese, apples and Nutella, a main course of a thai style frozen meal, it was actually good, and a desert of various chocolate products including nutella on brioche of course. Amen! Now to watch Step Up…

Our Appetizer, and yes, that is an apple with Nutella and Camembert
Me skillfully heating up our delicious dinner complements of the Leader Price
All the good things in this world involve chocolate. OMG, Buenos are to die for!
These are the shoes I bought and mentioned in my last blog post. I love them! They are totally killer.

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