Bonjour! Hope everyone is having a great day, I just felt like jotting down some differences between American and French culture that have been rolling around in my head a lot lately.
First off, and this is the only thing I really dislike about France, EVERYBODY smokes!!! Not only does people dropping cigarette butts on your feet get old after a while, but this habit the French have is very odd to me becuase it seems in direct contradiction with the "healthy" lifestyle they all love to boast about. For example, if one buys a candy bar or heaven forbid a coke from the vending machines at the university, one definitely gets a look of judgment. And everyone here makes such a big deal out of eating only fruits, vegetables, and meat during the week and reserving all (if any) sweets for the weekend. And of course, if any food one buys does happen (by some slim chance) to be pasteurized, one must buy the "bio" organic brand! To quote one of my friends, "...but isn't everything here organic anyway..?" So .... how does smoking fit into their big healthy life plan??! This paradox had me befuddled. I just don't understand how people here can be so extremely health concious but treat smoking like it can't harm you. C'est bizarre.
Another thing is the way people dress. Now, I did expect it to be pretty fashionable here, but come on people, I can't even wear a descent sweatshirt to class without feeling like crap about myself!! Stores SELL sweatshirts all over the place, I see them all the time, but I never see them on people! Even men always wear super nice sweaters, peacoats, etc.. it's absolutely crazy how amazing everyone looks all the time! I'm glad I didn't bring a whole lot of clothes so that I literally don't have much choice in what I can wear, I'm forced to wear good clothes every day! I did bring a few A&M t-shirts and my Oxford sweatshirt (which I thought would be good because hey, at least it's European!), but if I wear a t-shirt it's while I'm at home and I think I've only worn the sweatshirt out in public once (today) and even though I wore my gray skinny jeans and vans along with it, I still felt super slumpy.... and even the French dressing slumpy is super fashionable so I can't compete!! It's a lot to keep up with.
One last thing for now, so I will make it positive. :) Coffee...... sometimes when I'm at school I'm just so happy because I live in a magical land where you can get literally ANY cup of coffee you can imagine, including coffee + hot chocolate, out of a vending machine for only 50 centiemes! Ohhhh my gosh it's like heaven. I really have to restrain myself. I get at least one every day, and sometimes I do get more.... if I get change back from buying something at the supermarche or a boulangerie or something and they give me a lot of 50 centieme coins instead of euros, I think: "oh my GOSH it's a sign from God, I see lots of coffee in my not-too-distant future!!!" ...haha yes it's pretty bad. I'm more than positive that that's my main money-suck right now, borderline addiction. But hey, we don't have ANYTHING like that back in the states so I will enjoy my miracle coffee machine every day I get the chance. :)