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Differences between France and America

So I’ve only been in America 5 days but already I am taking note of all the huge differences. It’s funny because neither cultures are bad, just different. There are things I love about France and things I love about America. Sometimes I wish I could just blend the two cultures and create my own country. But I really have no interest in running a country, so that might no work out. As it is with any country, you have to take the good with the bad and learn to love and live in the moment. If we’re always thinking about what we would change or what we don’t like, life wouldn’t be so pleasant, would it?

I thought it’d be fun to write a little post about the differences I’ve found. Some of you might be able to relate having maybe traveled to France or are from there. And some might find it funny to read. And there are probably still some who don’t find it interesting at all, and if that’s you, my apologies! Come back another day! 🙂

In France there is no customer service. You should be so lucky to have someone serve you. Your waiter doesn’t come check on you every couple minutes to make sure you’re all taken care of, in fact, you practically have to hunt them down for the check. Now, this isn’t because French people are rude, it’s just their culture. Waiters do their job and nothing more.

In America, everyone is in a hurry. The freeways are packed full of cars constantly trying to pass other cars and maybe get there a minute faster than they would have. In most cities in France, the highways are two lanes. It’s a law that you drive in the right lane unless you want to pass a car. You would just pass that car and get back in the right lane, in case someone wants to pass you. Somehow it seems simpler and more organized.


In France their cups are small. Well, heck, everything is smaller there! This morning I was on my way to work and I stopped at Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Now, I can’t really make a habit of that because I paid $2.10 for that medium cup of joe, but it was really nice to have a decent size coffee in a to-go cup. Something they just don’t do too often in France.

 

It’s really refreshing to be able to speak English. I love speaking French and I love that my kids are bilingual, but there is just something about being able to explain yourself 100%. It’s… awesome. My younger son is just starting to grasp the idea that not everyone speaks French here (like no one speaks French here) and everywhere we go he is constantly telling me “Mom, they’re speaking English!” Yes baby, you’re gonna hear that a lot from now on!

The other day I was at Famous Footwear and the man helping us had a slight accent. My son says to me “Mom, I think he is the man that helps the people that speak English.” I was quite embarrassed, because obviously this man doesn’t understand our situation and probably thought that my son was commenting on his accent. When really he was thinking that he probably spoke French too but was ‘helping the English people!’

All in all we are adjusting well. I miss France and where we were, but I do feel like I’m home here. This is where I was born and raised and even though France will always have a piece of my heart, this is my home!

Our lives are kind of in an upheaval right now, so you’ll hopefully excuse me as I try to find out new normal! I am still unpacking and trying to make our two bedroom/one bathroom area like a small home. I hope to be back to regular programming soon!

 

14 Responses to Differences between France and America

  1. grammygoodwill June 4, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    Wow! Just discovered you’re back in the US of A. Yay! I know it will be an adjustment for all of you, but you’ll be fine. Welcome home.

    • Natalia June 5, 2015 at 10:40 am #

      Thank you!! Yep, HUGE adjustment, but we will be okay, you’re right. Even if it’s hard, we’ll make it. Life was never promised to be easy and simple!

  2. HeatherAnne June 4, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could pick and choose and make our own countries?! But I am with you. I would not want to run a country.

    I have never had the opportunity to travel much so thank you for the insight into another culture! We are hosting a French exchange student this summer and I look forward to learning more about their culture from him.

    • Natalia June 5, 2015 at 10:39 am #

      Oh how fun will that be! Enjoy that and ask them about it all, it’s a very lovely culture, I enjoyed it a lot!

  3. Courtney S June 5, 2015 at 8:59 am #

    Random question for you…
    In your Starbucks pic, are you wearing a sparkly pink on your lid and then brown in your crease? Your makeup is really pretty!

    • Natalia June 5, 2015 at 10:37 am #

      Thank you! It’s a sort of sparkly pink from my Naked on the run palette and then the brown from the same palette. You can see that palette here: http://bit.ly/1FRo9vI Hope that helps! 🙂

  4. Yvonne June 6, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Welcome back to California! Please keep posting, because I enjoyed your posts from France and I’m sure your California posts will be just as interesting!

    • Natalia June 12, 2015 at 8:25 am #

      Thank you! That means a lot to me!

  5. Ashley October 7, 2015 at 5:04 am #

    I feel your pain! I just got back to the US of A after 3 months in France with my Frenchman, and just had to say, you are SPOT ON about the joy of being able to 100% express yourself! I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I just wanted to say something, in the same way, with the same intonation as I would in English, and it just didn’t always work!
    That being said, I REALLY miss my french baguettes…. lol

    • Natalia October 9, 2015 at 10:58 am #

      It’s tough being torn between two countries!! I miss the baguettes too! And the cheese. and the wine… I miss it!

  6. Katie Spalluto April 30, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    I loved reading about your bilingual life and I fell into a daze of fantasy, dreaming of my little ones speaking two languages. I wondered where in the USA you lived…because in drivers education in Vermont we were taught you MUST stay in the right lane and only use the left to pass. The highways are two lane over there too. It might be a geographical thing-my husband from Los Angeles says he’s never heard of staying to the right on a highway. lol

    • Natalia May 23, 2016 at 9:44 am #

      Yes, I’m from Los Angeles so we have sometimes up to 10 lanes. If you’re driving slower you should stay in the right lane, but not everyone follows it!

  7. Sarah September 9, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

    LOVE your Paris Starbucks mug! 🙂 I collect SB mugs too.. Paris is still a dream destination for me (I’m working hard to make it a reality though)..

    LOL at small Parisian cups! I guess the cliche must be go. Everything in America is BIG — big macs, super sized meals, and the like.

    By the way, do SB stores in France serve the same sizes (tall, grande, venti)? Was it only the local parisian cafes that serve small cups? I like my coffee in a big mug too (Grande is just right for me)

    • Natalia September 23, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

      Starbucks is pretty across the board the same, it’s the local cafes that serve the smaller items. And very cliche but also very true, everything is bigger in America! 🙂

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