In yesterday’s entry, I wrote about a survey conducted of Britons who were considering moving overseas and what they thought they would miss most. I then mentioned some things that I missed from the US. I finished the story by saying that I’d be back with things that I don’t miss.
But I decided to stay positive. And so I’ve decided to publish a list of some of the things I enjoy about living in FR. In no particular order:
- The perfect baguette: Not all are perfect, but those that are, are something else.
- The lady at the L’Epi Gaulois: L’Epi is our favorite baguetterie. There’s a lady there who I see most of the time that I come in. She has a great smile and – I swear – often goes in the back of the store and gets me a baguette when there aren’t any more out front, much to the consternation of the lovely missus.
- Parking on the sidewalk, walking in the street: Maybe it’s just a FR thing – I certainly haven’t noticed it to the same extent in other EU countries – but they just love putting their cars on sidewalks. And even if there aren’t any cars on the sidewalk, FR pedestrians would rather walk in the street. Whenever we go into Toulouse, we see people on the streets when there isn’t anyone – or anything – on the sidewalks. Always makes me smile (and fuss sometimes, too).
- The pace of life: Things just move slower here – it’s not rush, rush, rush everywhere.
- Work to live, not live to work: The FR have their priorities right. “Just pay me a decent amount and let me have a leisurely lunch.”
- Long weekends, breaks, vacations, and real vacations: Taking two or three days off before or after a weekend is a ‘long weekend.’ Taking off a week is a ‘break.’ Taking off two weeks is a ‘vacation.’ Three weeks or a month off (seriously, we know someone who just started one) is a ‘real vacation.’ Compare that to the US: The ‘no vacation nation.’
- Seeing extended families taking a walk together on a Sunday afternoon.
- No shopping on Sundays: This one took a while to get used to – the lovely missus still hasn’t accepted it – but it is indeed better IMHO to spend time as a family…together.
- Speaking another language: I’m a geez – that’s my story and I’m sticking with it – so it has been hard for me to learn the FR language. I had/have great teachers but my ears just hear the words too slowly to keep up. Still…there are times when I get to have a real conversation with a real FR person and I feel so proud.
- A man’s home is his castle: All – and I mean ALL – the homes where we live have walls and/or fences around them. And driveway gates, too. I told the guys, “Everyone has their own personal Maginot Line.”
- Goat cheese: With nearly 400 different types of cheese available here, you have to find something you like. For me, it’s several different goat cheeses. With a baguette of course.
- Franglais: This goes back to speaking a different language. There are people I see on a regular basis who know that I’m American. Often when we meet, I’ll speak FR and they’ll practice their English on me. Good for both of us.
- Bonjour: Whether I know them or not, nearly everyone I pass on a sidewalk (or street) will bid me a bonjour, and I to them as well.
- Customer service: When you go into one of the smaller stores and purchase something, the cashier will ask if it’s a gift. If so, they will wrap it up…beautifully.
- Sunflower fields: Van Gogh certainly made use of a beautiful inspiration. J and I were driving this morning and just outside of Pibrac, we saw fields and more fields of sunflowers – gorgeous in the sunlight.
I’ll be back with more later.