So, I have some things to get off of my chest regarding French culture vs American culture... and the like.
First of all- chewing gum. The French just have NOT mastered the art of a good chewing gum that can retain the flavor for quite a long time without getting hard and rubbery. The best gum I have found here is Freedent- which I have been told by my American friends is purchased for people with dentures... hence "freeDENT". So... Kudos Americans. You've won this battle.
Drinking age. (I'm not turning in to an alcoholic, as you may think because I seem to mention drinking a lot! i do other things, I promise!!). The drinking age in the USA really does give Americans a terrible name when they come to France. (No, Kayleigh, not all underage Americans give us a bad name... you are an exception!) But those "other" underage Americans... seriously??!! The French tend to go to bars or start drinking much later than we do, so by 9 pm if someone is drunk it is clear they are American.
My friend, Charlotta, from Switzerland told me about the drinking laws in Sweden, and I think they make sense. If you are in a restaurant with your parents, you can have a drink with them- pretty much at any age. But if you are not with your parents, you can go to a bar/restaurant and drink at 18. However, you cannot buy alcohol from a store until you are 20. I think this makes sense, because by the time you are 20 you will be broke from only going to bars, that alcohol won't be as big of a deal, right? Ok, maybe not. But it's an interesting thought.
School. The excuse of living too far away from class so you cant make a mid morning class doesnt fly with me. Good thing Im not a teacher! And once someone walked in to class one morning a couple of minutes late, and when everyone turned to look (which is natural when someone walks in when a teacher is already addressing the class), this person says, "Surprise!" Maybe it would have been a LITTLE more acceptable if this person said it like, "sou-pr(french R) e zah" but no... just "Sir Prize!" Woah. Let's not draw attention here.
Whoever told me school is a joke in France and you can travel whenever you want and teachers don't care about your attendance- I want to know what school you went to. My teachers take attendance every day, I have homework every night, and grades are taken very seriously. My friends studying abroad in Spain are quite lucky because they are living the life... there (supposedly!) school does not matter, they CAN travel whenever they want, and they ARE traveling whenever they want because they say teachers there understand that part of studying abroad is also learning the culture and participating in the culture. Which I totally agree with- and spending 10 hours a day at school just is NOT introducing me to the culture of not only France, but all of Europe in general. However, I will admit one thing which I am not proud of... When I am not in class I am speaking a lot of English and hanging out with a lot of Americans (or students like the Asians who have a smart system of teaching english to everyone when they are very young). While my friends and I keep saying "when we're on the streets we need to speak in french," it's just not happening. Goal for the rest of the week: SPEAK. MORE. FRENCH.
Tomorrow I head off to Paris to spend Friday night with Guillaume and his friends, and then Saturday morning I'm heading to Besansçon to see Pauline and Julien!! I'm SOOOOO excited!!!!!!
Ok. Le Fin.
... except for this.
I feel really bad for having a presumption that I was not going to like the Asians at my school. I have to admit that I really didn't want to be friends with them! I don't know why.... because they are SO COOL!!!! This is reminding me of the quote that Cristina kept telling me before I left... "NO EXPECTATIONS". I had an expectation and it totally proved me wrong. Shame on me. Shame shame shame. And, like Piper said, for the first time in my life- I actually want to go to Asia.
Ok. Le Fin. Vraiment.