Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What I Don't Get

I have been in France for seven months now, but there are still so many things that I just don't get. Like why don't the French ventilate their bathrooms? Every bathroom I have been in has peeling paint and budding mold, but not a one has a fan. Why?

And why do they always seem to be digging holes? Everywhere we go, we see workers with shovels digging...and then a few weeks later they refill the hole, move a few meters, and start digging another one. What are they digging for? Their road signs even depict the digging of holes. I just don't get it.

And then there are the intersections. Why oh why is there an absence of a protected left turn? Every time one wishes to make a left turn at a major intersection, one must fight through oncoming traffic. It's downright scary!

Really, I do love the French. I love France. But sometimes I feel like such a foreigner. Like, for example, when I smile at a stranger. Smiling is kind of my neutral expression, its the default setting for my face. The French, however, are famous for NOT smiling. Not at strangers, anyways. Because that, in France, is just plain strange. I have got to work on my pout!

Oh, and this one really boggles my mind. Why is it considered inhumane (and therefore illegal) to de-claw a cat; yet, it is totally acceptable to make fois gras (which by the way, is illegal in the States). To make fois gras, one needs a very enlarged liver of a migratory bird. Therefore, the birds are force-fed through a tube inserted down their throats so that they eat MORE than they would on their own. I just don't get why that form of animal torture is smiled upon. My son Graham, however, has a theory. He thinks that the French are willing to engage in any form of animal torture that improves the flavor of the animal. In other words, if you are going to EAT the animal, you can do whatever you want to it.

And there is the ongoing concern over the total LACK of deodorant use among many, but particularly those in Junior High. Isn't this the land famous for perfume? Doesn't that lead you to believe that the French care about how they smell? What is their resistance to deodorant?

Somehow, these differences continue to frustrate/amaze us. In these ways, we cling to our roots. We are, in many ways, Americans in Paris.


  1. Hehehe - so funny! I like hearing about the random quirks of this other country, and I like how you tell us about them! :)

  2. I lol'd at the picture of the road sign depicting hole-digging. Redundant much? XD

  3. haha! Made me chuckle... good to know in case I ever go to France!