Thursday, July 23, 2009

These Things I Like

- The Eggs. Most eggs are brown. Of course you can buy brown eggs in America. But they cost more than eggs should. The eggs I buy in Paris aren't refrigerated. I enjoy that everyone here isn't always freaking out about E. Coli and stuff. I guess we do that in America because we have to. There are definitely a lot more problems with regulation of foods in my home country. But my point is really about the eggs. I like the high quality of cheap eggs. Do not, however, get me started on the milk here. That is a whole different story.

- The Roundabouts. As an uncultured American, I was naturally terrified of them at the beginning. Now I find them really quite fun! The mazelike tendancies of roundabouts keep you on your toes. And on a bike, I have maximum power to weave in and out of traffic while my scooter, car, bus and truck friends must just idle there and wait for things to start moving again. Lastly, from a statistical point of view, they are actually much safer.

- My Accent Working For Me. So my French is okay enough that I don't always sound like a total idiot (well, um, maybe just sometimes). Yet it is still very apparent that I am one of those exotic foreigners. This works in my favor, mainly when I am asking for directions, which happens frequently. I find people are very nice to me when they are giving me directions. Once in awhile I even get discounted cups of coffee. Okay that only happened to me once. But I am open to it happening again.

- The Culture Of Eating. In my previous American jobs, my lunch break was typically however long it took me to eat: 30 minutes max. Basically there is no eating culture. You eat because you have to. And then you go right back to work. Or maybe you don't even stop working and eat your lunch at your desk. When I was teaching at French public schools, they shut everything down for two-hour lunch break. At my current grown-up job, everyone take an hour. It's not just about minutes per lunch break. It's about actually taking time to eat and enjoy your meal, make a little bit of an affair out of it, and enjoy some conversation with whomever your dining partners are. Yes, there's work to be done. But this little midday pause is equally as important.

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