Even after living in France for a combined total of nearly 15 months, there are still little quirks that I discover about this country along the way.
Exhibit A: This weekend we went to visit a friend of ours who had just had a baby – an adorable, healthy baby might I add – when I saw a rather interesting sight. As we were walking towards the hospital, I noticed a congregation of smokers just outside the hospital entrance. Not 50 feet away, not even 10 feet away, but literally an arm length away from the door. Several of the hospitals in Texas have recently become non-smoking campuses, meaning that patients or employees who smoke have to actually leave the hospital grounds in order to light up (i.e., patients would have to be discharged in order to smoke). In France, you can still smoke almost wherever you want as long as you’re outdoors.
Exhibit B: The boy and I like to cook, so this weekend we went grocery shopping in search of something delicious to make. We wandered towards the butchery, and I was quickly reminded of another big difference between France and the USA. I scanned the selection of meats and found rabbit, horse, veal tongue, and other exotic items. I jokingly said to the boy, “Ooh, we should make veal tongue! It looks delicious!” He told me yes, it is good, but difficult to prepare (and he wasn’t joking). Ah! Thankfully we went with a pork roast, which really was delicious.
Exhibit C: We were driving down the highway when the boy pointed out one of the new, stealthy speed radars. Apparently they were a big issue, since these new machines could scan multiple cars’ speeds at once, they were somewhat camouflaged to add to the stealth factor, and, basically they just weren’t fair. At least in Texas, I can see that state trooper from just far enough away in order to check my speed and make sure I don’t get in trouble (can I add that I’ve never had a ticket of any kind before?). Although in the States we have red light cameras, and speed radars probably exist, it is a rare thing for me to see an actual police car on speed patrol around the highway or residential streets in France.
This list could continue on and on, but that’s for another post. What are the major differences that stand out to you between France and your country?