Monday, April 14, 2008

Interesting facts about France, Part I

Well, it's Monday and I feel like I'm at least taking baby steps ahead with my life. As you may have read, Friday was frustrating. I didn't update the blog, but about an hour after I posted I finally got a response from the company I have been talking with in London. I wanted to actually post the three sentence response I got, but the email has that little disclaimer about privacy. So here is a summary:

"We are having problems with the work permit situation. I don't think we are going to be able to get you a permit. If you lived in the UK we would definitely hire you!"

The good thing is that this is neither a surprise nor a disappointment. I'm just glad that at least now I have an actual answer. I love to be able to check things off of a to do list. My next steps are to research what I need to do while in the US to get married here and to sign up for French classes in June.

The rest of the weekend was great. We didn't do much, but maybe that is what made it so fantastic. We went into town Saturday and shopped a little, which brings me to a few of the observations I was talking about earlier. Today I would like to cover two thing; 1) The French Paradox and 2) France; a Casual Chic Country.

Before I moved here I would hear about this "French Paradox". This is the uncanny, nay irritating, fact that French women eat good food, drink wine/beer, smoke and still live long lives and are thin. Is it genetics? Maybe it is the fact that they don't eat fast food and that cheese and wine are good protein/carb pairings. Or they only eat one meal a day and the portions are smaller. Or maybe every time they eat the great food and drink the great wine/beer they run to the toilettes and heave. I don't know, but the truth is that every time I see someone over weight I have the strangest pull to walk close to them and see if they are speaking English. I can't help it, but I do it almost all the time when I'm out alone. I even look for clues like maybe they are carrying a book or a magazine in English. So far I have not heard them but I know soon I will. I figure this is good practice for when I am offered a job as an international spy (the good kind of spy fighting for justice and all).

The "French Paradox" thing leads directly into the next observation; "France is a casual chic country". Most of the women are thin, so they can all wear cute clothes. I have been here 3 months and have yet to see one pair of cotton sweat pants on anyone. Seriously!! I just returned from shopping at Carrefour which is almost exactly like a Super Walmart, and you know sweats. Everyone here dresses up. Maybe sweats are so unattractive that stores refuse to sell them because they don't want to be responsible for casualizing (made that word up) France. Maybe people only own nice clothes, maybe athletic shoes are expensive. I just don't know. The footwear alone amazes me. At any given time 70% of the entire female population that are wearing shoes (all ages taken into account) in Lille are wearing a pair of black or brown boots, 20% are wearing heels or flats with hose, and 10% are wearing Converse tennis shoes (Converse are huge here and like $75 USD a pair). I'm actually not complaining about this, it's kind of nice to see all the folks wearing cute clothes. Those of you that know me know I wear boots all the time, sometimes I even bust out my cowboy ones just to add a little originality. Plus, at least I don't feel like I'm in Walmart, even though I might be.

Later this week I will cover such thrilling topics as "Franco-American TV" and "France is closed on Sundays". I'll also let you know how things progress in my quest for a life in France.


Anonymous said...

Have you read "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris? You need to. And was that Karen from icxx?

-Bridget (in Texas) or Brigitte (en France)

Susan said...

Ha - yes, that would be the Karen!

Jennie said...

Sometimes I get so annoyed by how fashionable everyone needs to be in France. I just don't feel like looking my absolute best every second of every day, or spending money on trendy clothes. I actually prefered the laid-back attitude towards clothing in the US - though not so much the sweatpants and mismatched tops that people wear to Walmart...