​A France(ship) To Remember
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​A France(ship) To Remember

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

​A France(ship) To Remember
Aryonne Link In front of the Eiffel Tower

Traveling makes you smarter, more creative, and improves your problem-solving abilities. The culture, cuisine, history, religion, art, parenting, teaching, and most importantly the language all played a role in the French lifestyle and living. Traveling to a theme park in another state doesn’t come anywhere near my experience here in France. I still can’t believe I travelled to another country, but not just any country France! It felt like I was removed from my current state and transferred to another dimension. Something like that wonder woman movie, I saw in Tours, France. This movie was about how Wonder Woman’s world was the opposite of the outside world. The involvement I acquired from being so deep into the French culture and customs, have altered my perspective and has given me more room to be independent. However, it doesn’t stop there, my journey in France has spiraled into something amazing! I must say when learning a new language one must travel to that country. Not only for the true history and excitement, but to be completely submerged in the customs and learn what’s not offered in the classroom!

Before my visit to France I thought it was filled with a lot of fast speaking, striped shirt wearing, smoking, bread and cheese eating, wine and alcohol drinking, angry people. Well, although half of my assumptions were true, my time here in France has changed my ideas and views. Although these things may seem bad and or striking, it’s who they are. Its apart of their history, and the way that they know to live. It’s not just to be rebellious or risky, but to be true to their culture and their lives. It’s just like how most Americans eat too much and are very lazy. Yes, other countries may question our habits but it’s who we are. We like fast food restaurants and we rather eat a TV dinner, and watch old shows then to go walking for hours with a glass of wine.

The food, was exquisite and interesting. The wines, coffee’s, and teas were meant to be served with almost every meal. However, me being the American that I am that wasn’t the case. Meals that included ratatouille, quiche, baked stuffed zucchini, creamed muscle’s, baked veil, curry chicken, croissants, Terre mousse, salmon, and more! The taste and flavors gave me a fancy feeling and converted my taste buds from simple to indulged! Macaroons were my favorite. I’ve heard so much about these little treats, but never in a million years could have imagined that they would taste like heaven. This colorful snack melted in my mouth like ice-cream, but also had a crunchy outside coating. This treat can never be compared to a cupcake nor a cookie, because to me it’s much more. I’ve never felt so intrigued by something, until now. Not to forget the Patisserie’s placed on every corner near every store. Ha, it was amazing. To be able to shop and grab a croissant at the same time shocked me. Have you ever tasted a thin pancake with any flavor you can imagine on the inside or outside of it? Well, if you haven’t Crêpes are the perfect snack for you! It’s is made by pouring wheat batter onto a frying pan. Then pouring butter or vegetable oil on the pan. Using the tilt method, the batter spreads evenly. The trick is making the batter thin, while also making sure that the pan isn’t too hot. The cooking time for Crêpes is 30-60 seconds on each side. Then the crêpe is served with your choice of flavoring on the inside, outside, or both. The excitement did not stop there, it continued. Shopping store and grocery store, “Monoprix” made me feel like my hometown needed an upgrade. I’ve never seen a grocery store and clothing store be a part of the same building, and so intertwined within one another. It’s most definitely something to remember!

Is the poop from dogs a culture thing in France? I love dogs don’t get me wrong, but the poop around the cities of France wasn’t so satisfying. Yes, to watch dogs walk freely next to their owners was amazing. Especially since my dogs can’t go out without being disruptive, and

walk quietly without barking at the neighbor’s dog. However, there was poop on every street. Another culture shock, but as contradicting as it sounds I think this is how it should be. Dogs shouldn’t walk on leashes if they can help it. However, I think that since the residents in France walk so much that their dogs have gotten used to walking near them. In France dogs are allowed everywhere! Restaurants, malls, stores, museums, schools, anywhere you can think of they’re allowed. I can’t even bring my dog to the store without people looking at me crazy. Paris felt like a city of dogs. I loved seeing these furry friends everywhere. However, the act of not cleaning up after pets seems like a common mistake for everyone.

The class setting is what excited me the most. During my classes, it was interactive and every second was enjoyed. Our teachers made it their duty to submerge us in as much French words and phrases as they could. My French has improved more in the 3 weeks that I attended Institut de Touraine. The seating style was different, and we sat mainly in a cluster. We were not all facing the professor in one direction like my previous classes at Georgia State. Which in my opinion made me feel comfortable to learn French. The Professor was active, interacted with each student with a different French statement harder than the one before. This gave me a challenge. During my stay in France the language usage shocked me. The way I’ve been taught to speak and write French at Georgia State, was similar but not the same as the French natives. My French professors and friends used different verbs, and a variety of subject verb agreements. Giving me shortcuts, and opportunities to use French slang and understand the local conversations. A class that I enjoyed would be phonetics. This class showed me how to pronounce the common overlooked words and letters. By breaking down each syllable, I was able to learn the correct way to say words. This class taught me how to listen to words and practice spelling them. I would definitely like to see more classes like this at Georgia State that

are focused mainly on the word usage, how to mouth words and letters, and how to speak in a French accent properly.

Customer service was an adventure within itself. The waiters were very strict with their work, and didn’t baby you every five minutes like at an American restaurant. The waiters in France wanted to know your meal choice and that’s it! They didn’t introduce themselves by name, and wasn’t interested in staying around to chat. French waiters don’t work for tips, and were extremely busy workers! The meals times were interesting. Most French natives didn’t snack in between meals. There are three meal; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s very important to be on time to all eating events, and even then, being on time is still late. Other than the tourists, I saw no one drinking sodas to past time or because of thirst. There were only a few water bottles, and sandwiches around town in the hands of the French residents.

The parenting was simple yet responsible. Sites like mothers riding bikes with stilettos, and their children sitting in the carrying basket. Let’s not forget the fathers waking up super early to hop on their scooters with their millennials. The parents weren’t invited to tag along throughout the school with their kids. Instead they were expected to drop them off at the front gates, or even near the end of the street. I noticed less interaction between the school teachers and parents in France then in my home town. Which in my opinion gives the students the chance to become independent at a young age.

Beep, beep, beep, is the sound of the line of cars that are still moving even when the pedestrians have the right away. There is no right away, and you usually just hope that you’re crossing the street at the right time! “Thousands of pedestrians are victims of traffic accidents every year in the Paris region alone”, per Service plan. People are always at risk when walking the streets of Europe, and it hasn’t changed. Aside from the driving manners, the residents were

very friendly. Humorous, interested, and willing to help is the vibe that I noticed. It gave a comfortable feel for the French residents, and showed me that they’re nicer than I expected.

The art work was amazing, and everywhere we went there was an urge to take photos of the beautiful sight! For example, The Louvre and the Musée D’orsey made me feel like a historian. The Musée D’orsay held many impressionist paintings and post-impressionist masterpieces. Painters that included Van Gogh, Gaugin, Monet, Renoir, among other artists. Learning that this museum was previously a train station shocked me! The Louvre is well known for the famous painting of Mona Lisa and the Venus of Milo. With different levels and rooms to explore the exhibits gave me a challenge while discover what the museum had to offer. The history of the sites intrigued me, and the number of workers outside the museum selling souvenirs was quite shocking. This was another culture shock for me because, I’ve never seen so many people selling items and not taking no for an answer. The Pont Neuf River, is a venue where I took initiative of. With love and open arms, I wrote my name and my families name on a lock and placed it on the gate for eternal love. I’ve never felt so much love in one area near a river in my life.

The living environment with my host family is what gave me the complete experience. My host mother spoke about local topics such as how our day went at the institute, and on a worldwide level by asking about political topics and the excursions. Being in the house with several other students who had a lot more experience speaking French, put me in the right mindset to pick up on their word usage at dinner. During dinner time, we would have an open discussion giving me time to practice my French outside of the classroom. My host mom would keep the conversation flowing by asking various types of questions. For example, she would explain the meal and what we were eating then asking us about portion size, what we would like

to eat next, what were some of the things we liked about the food, how our days were going, what interests us, our lives at home, among other questions. This helped us get used to one another, and gave us more speaking time to practice our French dialogue. There were students from Michigan State, Germany, Alabama State, and Thailand living in the house with me. This was a great opportunity because of how culturally diverse the household was. I enjoyed learning about their customs, and to hear what they’ve learned during their time at the Insitut de Touraine.

There were a great number of stereotypes that I had held on to about France before I had the chance to visit. Most of those assumptions were disproven. The French way of teaching made me comfortable and eager to learn the language. The food was what I imagined and more and I’m glad that I could take it home with me to prepare for my family. Although the French love their smoking and wine habits I enjoyed being present during this transition. Showing me that others may be different from what I’m used to, but that doesn’t make them horrible people it’s just who they are. The French residents that I interacted with were family oriented and nicer than I expected. My time in France was needed for a wakeup call, and I’m very appreciative that I received that experience!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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