Initial Reflections from our Trip to Cheeseland
I’m fresh of the plane after our biannual pilgrimage to the homeland. This year, our trip encompassed 5 cities in 11 days, six planes, a fantastic 3-day wedding, 10 in-laws visited, at least 7 chocolatines devoured (pains au chocolat for you northerners) and not nearly enough wine.
Before the maelstrom of work-induced stress, life to-dos and social obligations makes me forget I was even there and what a breath of fresh air it was (see photo reminder to myself), I wanted to take a moment to reflect – what’s changed since my last visit, what made me smile, what baffled me, what made me possibly nostalgic. A few not-fully-baked thoughts here:
- The joy of a three euro glass of more-than-drinkable wine never gets old
- Boursin Nut cheese (be enlightened here) is still my favorite French foodstuff and one day, I will figure out a way to get it across the Atlantic
- Descriptions of our American work/life balance and vacation allotment elicited reactions ranging from shock to pity to outrage. For a primer on French work culture, check out my friend Lindsey’s post here
- The French don’t understand the American healthcare system. And when I try to explain it, I realize I don’t understand it either
- French music artists have figured out how to respond to listener demand for English and conquer the language quota the radio stations are held to – songs in Franglais! Need an example? See French Canadian band Simple Plan’s “Summer Paradise” lyrics
- The same applies to corporate marketing ploys. Anglicisms all over the place – Carrefour City, Carrefour Drive, Societe Generale’s “So Music” promotion (What does that even mean?!)
- French weddings are still way more fun – and affordable – than American weddings. Partially because there is a standard wedding playlist song that requires all men to strip down. Or do only our friends partake in this tradition?
- The French are still more knowledgeable about (and mystified by) US current events than Americans. Case in point – Todd Akin’s recent commentary on rape was common table conversation
- The secrets of language learning never cease to amaze me. I consider myself pretty bilingual and have worked hard on my accent in French over many years. I take great pride in the fact that the majority of folks I meet believe I’m French until we get into more robust conversation. However, after just a handful of exchanges, the four year old daughter of a friend caught on to my tricks – accusing straight out – “tu parles pas francais comme nous”. Go figure.
More posts and pictures from our marathon through the south of France to come!