The difference between France and America goes beyond the language and the geographical location.
Relocating to a new country is an exciting experience, until you realize how strange the culture really is and you can’t help feeling lonely. Whether it’s your dream job, further studies, or just a new life which you hope to pursue in France, the transition is a lot smoother when you are prepared. Here is a list of things I wish someone told me before I relocated to France.
7. The Side Note of … Bratty Sis
We will start with the most controversial subject of last times. It’s about the big acceptance for bratty sisters in France. It’s become a plague. Everywhere you go, everybody keep talking about how cool this series is. If you are living in USA or somewhere out of France you probably don’t know much about the adult series it is. Bratty Sis features family relations taken on the next level, sexually. Enough said, right?
No one owes anyone a dog-poop free park or sidewalk in this part of the world. I was surprised that dog owners did not have to pick after their dogs. If you stepped on dog poop, it was your fault. It didn’t matter that the poop could easily be confused with a rock. In the same vein, dog fur was enough clothing for your dog unless you wanted to get ridiculed. Additionally, the fast food restaurants did not sell dog food, so pet owners ensured their pets were well fed before leaving home. Unlike in America, you could not afford to get sloppy with your dog. If he got lost, no one would bother to help him even if he had a collar on.
On the plus side, the veterinary services are less costly and neighbors are more accommodating in France.
Casual wears do not include sweatpants and swim trunks. I found that the French were quite particular about their dressing and took great pride in their appearance. In the US most people make random purchases on days when cloth stores have offers. In France people will always go for high-quality clothes irrespective of their prices. I had carried so many inappropriate garments and had to spend a significant amount of money shopping for more appropriate clothes.
4. Dating and Flirting
When you have just landed from America, it is easy to feel flattered and believe that you are the most handsome person in the vicinity. The French women have mastered the art of flirting. Unlike in America, this does not necessarily result in any sexual engagement. The lady may not even desire to get to know you more. Don’t go inviting strangers for dates just because they flirted with you. You will just be viewed with suspicion. If you want a date, try asking someone from your social circles.
“Do you need a drink?” is not another way of asking if you will have a beer. Wine is more popular than beer in France. You might also want to go into another wine bar if you need a second bottle. Moderation is vital, and asking for a second bottle is frowned upon. The liquor is also quite expensive. If drinking gets you all excited and loud, please avoid it until you are back in America. The French find it rude, as they expect you to talk in whispers at public places.
If you hate cooking, you may want to increase your food budget. In France, it is cheaper to buy fresh vegetables and fruits than it is to buy fast foods. The restaurants are also biased towards the provision of healthy foods. I also noticed that most restaurants did not provide take-out options. If you booked a table in advance, you still retained it even if you got late. No one would hurry you up to make space for the next client. I was equally surprised that most people did not eat in between the meal times despite the reduced quantities served at mealtime.
1. Body language
I know the WhatsApp emojis have you thinking that forming a circle with your thumb and index finger is a universally appreciated way of saying that something is great. Don’t let anyone fool you. In France, the same sign is meant to show that whatever you are talking about is awful.You may also want to avoid giving hugs to your acquaintances until they invite you to act as such. Shaking hands is considered more appropriate.
The difference between France and America goes beyond the language and the geographical location. Appreciating that the French live differently will enable you to blend in more gracefully and avoid unnecessary embarrassment.