Sunday, February 28, 2010

Top Ten Reasons Why I can Never be French.

I’ve never had the goal of completely assimilating into France. Nothing against them, I happen to think they do many things right, but I’m here to learn the language and appreciate the people, culture, and cheese (and I’m here because I didn’t have anything better to do and basically a seven-month vacation sounded good). I’ve very much enjoyed my time here so far and have been pleasantly surprised about many things. However, this sojourn also reinforces my suspicion that I’d never exactly feel or consider myself to “be” French and here’s why, David Letterman style:

  1. Bises. OK, so I’m dealing with the kisses. I’ve gotten used to them and think it’s kind of cute and I don’t try to intercept them with a handshake anymore (though I still have my kids shake hands at the beginning of each class). I now expect and accept them and think it might even be a little strange to go back home and NOT get bised. But could I live without them? Most definitely.
  2. I’m a registered Republican. But again, if anyone asks, I totally voted for Obama… or at least I let them assume I did.
  3. I can never make it home from the bakery without tearing (literally) into my baguette. This is considered a bit of a faux-pas, to eat on the street outside of the sacred French ritual of the meal. Would be even worse if I just started gnawing on it; at least I break it off first.
  4. I smile.
  5. American television. I miss it and most on-line TV watching sites block international viewers. The King of Queens on YouTube and the shows that people have sent to me have been lifesavers. Special shout-outs to Drone for season five of The Hills and to mom for the DVR’d Project Runway! But popping a DVD into my laptop is just not the same as serendipitously catching an episode of The Golden Girls at midnight or an entire season of America’s Next Top Model on a Saturday.
  6. I don’t like tiny, yippy dogs that the French carry around in their purses. They look like rats and I want to punt them.
  7. I have naturally straight teeth (zing!). Actually, I haven’t met all that many French with bad teeth. Their healthcare is decent and I assume it includes dental. (Just realized how behind I am on my own professional teeth cleanings… might as well take advantage here!)
  8. The French seem to have two extremes of thinking. In most situations they either respond with “c’est normal” or “ce n’est pas possible.” I tend to think things can exist in more categories than “normal/routine” or “impossible.” Because for Americans, NOTHING is impossible, right?
  9. I don’t carry around a ruler… OK, this is probably one of the most hilarious things I’ve learned about the French. I first noticed it in my classes. The kids ALWAYS have a ruler… not for measuring, but for drawing lines. Even just to underline a one-word title, out come the rulers (when they aren’t using them as weapons or percussion instruments). A friend who works in a high school said her students whip them out for WORD SEARCHES. I’ve even heard that college-aged students can’t seem to take their notes without them. And GET THIS: while writing some prescriptions for a cold, my doctor pulled out his ruler to underline each medication… I about lost it.
  10. I’m just too decidedly American. Plain and simple, no ex-patriot plans here, so like it not, I’m a-coming home in about 2 months. SEE YA!


  1. Connie, this has got to be most definitely one of my fav. posts!
    LOL for #4 and #6 (but seriously, I really laughed out loud ... and I just realized typing- isn't laughed "aloud" and not "out loud"? we write "lol" when it's really "la"?) la ha ha.

  2. Me too, lol! #8 is great...and rulers?