Getting a Feel for the Culture in France

I now finally feel as though I am living the true French life! I’m speaking French (very horribly but just give me a few more months), eating bread (gaining weight…) and shopping! Last night I went on a really fun shopping adventure with my friend from Finland, Joel. I got a really cute pair of shoes and 2 big, warm scarves! Both scarves were under 10 euros so I was very happy about that. Joel, however, bought 2 big bags worth of clothes but for a very good price! I’m pretty sure that this is the last weekend for the really good sales so I’m happy I took advantage of that. Also, this week at school I ate at the different cafeteria which gets a really bad rap because it is healthy food and is “gross”. I loved it though! You got to choose out of 4 different main plates and they were all hot and (what seemed to be) the equivalent of a home cooked meal! It’s still all good but my fellow classmates seem to greatly underestimate the greatness of having healthy, hot food given to you at school for lunch. I’ll post pictures of both lunches on my shutterfly. The healthy cafeteria food is the one with a biscuit and gravy with well, more healthy looking food (you’ll most likely be able to spot the difference) Oh and the food at that cafeteria is served with real forks and knives on real, breakable plates! The napkins and uneaten food are the only things that you throw away. That’s one thing about the French culture I really like. They do not waste much at all. At my house we use cloth napkins every meal and all the leftovers are eaten for a snack or on Thursdays for dinner. Also the use of paper towels is very little and everything besides towels is hung dry. And at any store you go to, once you buy your things you either put it in your own purse or bag or shopping bags you brought from home! And grocery shopping at my house is only done once a week (Saturdays). You can ask for plastic bags at the stores, but unless you ask it’s up to you to carry everything somehow. Living this less wasteful way really isn’t any harder. It doesn’t take up anymore time; it produces a heck of a lot less trash, and it makes me feel better (coming from just taking a semester of AP environmental science) that I’m not throwing away paper all the time and what there is to recycle, is recycled. Mrs. Shwendy would be so proud! To go off more of the environmental benefits of the French culture, my family also only has one car and even though it’s old and probably doesn’t get great gas mileage, they only fill it up about every two weeks because we do a lot of walking and bus taking! However, I kind of think that of all the smoking that is done my so many adults and almost teens would be the equivalent as if they were all driving cars. There are Pros and Cons to every culture, I guess. I wonder if in twenty or thirty years that the percent of teenage smoking will go down in France.  I also wonder if it is just their science classes not teaching them the actual scary science of what smoke does to your lungs. I know my freshman year health class defiantly scared me enough that I try to hold my breath when someone blows out their smoke near me. Maybe when I come home in six months I’ll be able to be a swimmer and hold my breath forever haha. Yeah, as you may be able to tell, all the smoking is a big culture shock for me! Again with the Pros and Cons. Now that I’m getting a feel for the culture all I have to do is learn the language! I can tell that I can already understand way more than when I first arrived, but I feel like I need to read and speak more. As most new exchange students I have unfortunately been a bit of a hermit in my room. I’m not wasting my time because I am reading or writing (which I found out I really enjoy doing!) or even trying to do some homework. However, I am not using my time wisely. I have been reading the free newspaper that is given out at the bus stops and I will try and translate that and later today I’m going to watch a French movie “LOL” with my host sister. There is an American version with Miley Cyrus but the French think that it is totally awful and a disgrace, in which I completely agree with them. I’m looking forward to seeing the real version. So far I’m going to have a pretty chill weekend. Then I will have four days of school and then a two week break! Yay!

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