I was really, really, really happy to be back in the US these last couple weeks. Even though I love France, being there for 2 months has given me a renewed appreciation for my home country. My absence also has me missing those certain little, familiar, often taken for granted things in US life….
- Big, beautiful American houses. They’re so colorful, pretty and have so much life. While French homes have old charm and are built to last, they also seem a little sad. 99% are gray with a brown or orange roof. There, you’d never see a great big house with a grand front porch and a meticulously landscaped yard.
- Government administration. Oh, I could write a book on the inefficient, incompetent, heartless, blood pressure raising experiences of dealing with French administration. After waiting for 5 hours at one of the world’s saddest places, the Immigration office (called the Prefecture), a week before I left, I walked out of the building without being able to extend my visa. It’s a long story, but I was advised to return at a date closer to my visa expiration so my next one could be issued with enough time to carry me until the end of May. Considering this, on top of my initial visa experience, I’m not sure how I will survive the 4 years until citizenship. But, I am sure a french friend who is living in the US would say the same thing about American administration after she waited 4 months for her work permit only to have it lost in the mail. She was then told the process must be restarted from the very beginning.
- Convenience. Business’s in the US want to make money so they are driven by customer wants and needs. For example, if I wake up at 3am and decide I want to eat a taco, buy a pair of yoga pants, followed by a workout at a gym it’s not a problem. In France, it would be nearly impossible. In fact, one time I walked into a Paris restaurant and was told that they were not serving food that week because the cook was on vacation.
- Cheap gas. Yes, you read correctly. In the US it cost $60 to fill the tank on my Pontiac G6 compared to $108 to fill the economically friendly, Henri in Europe.
- Breathing. And what I mean by that is being able to take a good breath outside without inhaling second hand smoke. This french stereotype, unfortunately, is true.
Of course, being back in the States has me realizing a few things not so good. Things that give other countries a lot of ammunition to making fun of us and things that I, myself, have been guilty of (I won’t admit which ones).
- First things first, unless you’re Mark Zuckerburg, put the pajamas away. Those are for sleeping only, not for going out in public, America.
- Young American girls, I mean this with nothing but love – stop dressing like skanks. I never realized before spending 2 months in France, but a lot America college age girls could take example from their French counterparts. Last Friday night, in Nashville, we went to a sports bar on the Vanderbilt University campus.
Throughout the bar were scantily clad girls. One had on a red dress that barely passed her underwear line with a pair of glossy red stripper style shoes. The only instance where that would happen in France is if the girl was “working”. On a weekend night in Orleans, most of the girls could be found in something stylish, classy, but yet sexy and pretty.
- Anyone denying our obesity epidemic needs to hop on a plane to France for a couple of days. Search for a fat person and maybe you’ll find one. Sadly, it’s true. I can go for a week without seeing someone overweight. Basically, it’s
made me realize we must do something before we all die of heart disease and diabetes. Also, it’s just not fair that the French are so thin.
So, the past two weeks I throughly enjoyed American life, time with Fabien, our animals, going shopping, running, reading, watching Netflix and just relaxing. The past two weeks have me refreshed and ready to tackle the next 3 months with gusto. Also, I ‘m working on Spring Break trip that gives me heart palpitations and butterflies in my tummy! Details soon…