A Grown-Up Game of Make-Believe

That is what I’ve decided living in France has been like. All day everyday I’m pretending to be French, and apparently convincingly so. Today at least three people talked to me about the bus or asked for directions thinking I was French, so apparently I’m doing something right. At least until I open my mouth and they hear my American accent…looks can be deceiving.

I’m starting to get a hang on this whole eating French thing. And quite enjoying it. Yesterday for lunch I splurged on a delicious, delicious ham and cheese quiche and chocolate eclair. And for dinner our first course was thinly sliced ham (French proscuttio basically) with cantelope. Our second course was a delicious white fish cooked with herbs and olive oil and some long grain rice with carrots and other vegetables. Then came the bread and cheese (starting to become one of my favorite parts of meal time). Every night I have a choice of bleu cheese, goat cheese, and camembert, but the goat cheese and bleu cheese are different than in the United States, and so scrumptious. Following the cheese course is the fruit course, and I ate a super delicious fresh peach. Produce here is just so good, I don’t think I’ve had anything that was bad.

After dinner Cathy and I watched our favorite TV show  Plus Belle la Ville. And when I say we I mean we. It was always Cathy’s favorite so I watched it with her, and now that I’ve started to understand it I like it also. It’s basically a French drama/ soap opera that takes place in Marseille (only 20 minutes away!) and has family drama, work drama, school drama, love drama, all sorts of good things. The big difference between French and American TV is the French channels show all the commercials in between shows, so there are literally no commercial breaks during the episode and even during movies. Kind of nice but also kind of difficult because there’s no breaks to do something else.

Today was market day and since I didn’t have class until 11 I decided to be adventurous and explore the markets and get lost for like half an hour (I didn’t plan on getting lost but I still got to school early enough to buy a chocolate croissant and coffee at the cafe). I had some goat cheese left over from my picnic this weekend so I bought some lettuce, tomatoes, a peach, and some plums at the market for lunch the next few days. And a baguette from the bakery of course. Because for less than 1 euro you can’t really pass up a fresh baguette.

As part of this whole pretending to be french thing, I started thinking about what similarities I actually do share with the French, and my differences. The biggest similarity I’ve found is my tendency to just cross the street without looking for cars assuming they will stop. Because in France they do. People everywhere just put their hands out to stop the cars and then walk. It wasn’t too hard for me to pick up, and will probably mean I will almost get run over when I go back home, but I’ll worry about that in three months.

As far as differences, there are two big things that I miss about home. One is that the French don’t use sarcasm. Like ever. Not that they are super serious, but they don’t joke around a whole lot. Which is hard for someone like me who speaks sarcasm and sass more fluent than English…I am actually a little afraid that when I come home I will be so used to talking seriously all the time that I won’t understand jokes and sarcasm…and then I will forget who I really am and it will be some giant identity crisis (okay a little exaggerated maybe, but still a viable threat to my livelihood). The second is being able to take my coffee with me. I love sitting down and having a delicious espresso at the cafe, but I also love being able to walk around (or work) in the afternoon with my iced coffee, or even just be able to grab a coffee to walk home with. France requires more scheduling of coffee time, which is probably good for my consumption level and my wallet, but every once in a while you just gotta take your coffee somewhere…and apparently that somewhere is Seattle.

Because you can never take the 5 year old out of me…My new friend Amanda and I before dinner Saturday night

Waiting for the bus I looked up and saw the cathedral poking up above the buildings


My room! The photos are not mine because I forget them at home…but it’s still lovely


The living room and dining room.


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