France, Travel

The Difference a Country Makes

I had already determine weren’t in “Kansas” anymore when we passed through security at Newark airport. No offense to my Yankee friends, but the security officers in Texas were so much nicer than those we experienced in New Jersey—airport was nicer too but I’ll delve into that in a different post.
I had been warned about various things in France as well as told of the aspects that were far better in land with the City of Lights: don’t wear shorts—you’ll get cat-called, always dress you’re best, people are mean to you if you don’t speak French, the food and wine’s fantastic, the produce is better because it’s all grown in the country and organic, the pastries are to die for, everything’s expensive, the ice cream comes in weird flavors but it’s great, there’ll be dog poop all over the sidewalks.
You get the picture. Now some of what I personally expected and was warned about was true, and some wasn’t.
The clothing for example, this may have been an issue in Paris but not in little ol’Angers. When the weather was warm and humid our first week here, I could have easily gone out in shorts without undesirable attention (and consequently wish I’d brought some light clothing for the outings we had the first week). Secondly, I haven’t felt this unspoken rule that you MUST dress nice when stepping out of doors. Do people dress a bit nicer here on average than in the States? Yes. Vast majority of the population certainly knows how to rock a scarf, but I haven’t noticed any leering from the natives when I step out in less than polished dress for a quick run to the small market.
And speaking of markets, something I wasn’t anticipating was the subtle differences in grocery options. I expected drastic changes—high prices, unpasteurized milk, no peanut butter, etc. What I didn’t expect was the complete lack of fruit flavored cereals. Seriously. You like chocolate, Special K, or boring healthy stuff? Great! You’ll be fine in Angers. Fancy some Froot Loops, Reeses Puffs, Corn Pops, maybe even Trix? Sorry, no can do. No raisin bread either. It’s either some sort of fruit cake or it has chocolate. Why?!
Get a can of Dr. Pepper for only 1.10 euro!

I haven’t noticed a drastic difference between produce I’ve bought in France versus the regular non-organic fruits and veggies I bought back at HEB, except for the fact that the peaches here are consistently ripe and tasty (although not quite as good as the ones that come off the tree from my childhood home back in the good ol’Texas heartland).

We haven’t eaten out too much; yes, the crepes are good but it’s hard not to be when it’s hot and covered in chocolate or caramel. We went to a pizzeria and had the Texana pizza, the crust was so thin Colton rolled up the slices to eat them but it was yummy, along with my lasagna but they really could’ve put more dressing on my salad. As for the ice cream, yes it’s good but I haven’t seen anything stranger than this pink/yellow concoction Colton decided to try, I think it was supposed to be guava but tasted more like bubblegum. I’ll review the pastries after I’ve done more research.

As for the French being rude if you don’t speak the language, haven’t experienced it. Yes, we’re out of Paris and that is supposed to help, but so far, once the person realizes our French is severely lacking they’ve worked to help us and kept it simple. When I need to get something specific across I translate it in my phone before I leave home, it tends to make things simpler. While talking to a doctor whose English was just a bit better than my French, it was so reassuring when they flipped around their computer screen to reveal Google Translate so we could have a clearer conversation.

As for the poop on the sidewalk, it really hasn’t been that bad.

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