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Initial Reflections from our Trip to Cheeseland

September 30, 2012

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.

AKA no pouting/bitching/complaining allowed

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:

  1. The joy of a three euro glass of more-than-drinkable wine never gets old
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. The French don’t understand the American healthcare system. And when I try to explain it, I realize I don’t understand it either
  5. 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
  6. 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?!)
  7. 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?
  8. 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
  9. 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!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2012 1:00 pm

    Je viens d’écouter la chanson de Simple Plan… Merci j’ai envie de me pendre maintenant! 🙂

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