Travel

bonjour

bonjour

Everyone says the French hate Americans and are rude to any they come across, but I didn’t necessarily have that experience.  Not being fluent in a countries native language should never stop you from going, but you also shouldn’t be disrespectful and assume everyone knows English because it is “the world’s language”.

While in France, “Bonjour! Parlez-vous anglais?” was my go-to opening line wherever I went.  It was my way of first saying hello, but then informing them that I was not native and did not know how to speak their language.  As long as you are respectful and do not jump straight to English, they will at least tolerate our ignorance.

Another cultural shift other than language was physical greetings.  Many of us Americans do not like our personal space to be invaded.  We have these bubbles that tend to expand when around strangers.

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Well…you can kiss that bubble goodbye because the French will pop your bubble and come in for the kill.  When first meeting my new friends the 3nity Brothers, they totally called me out when I offered a cold hug instead of the French greeting of kissing on both sets of cheeks.  After that first night in Paris, I accepted the challenge of letting my walls down and the next time I saw them I offered a warm welcome of kisses!  It felt strange, but then again so do much of your experiences while abroad embracing other countries and their cultures.

Another thing I found interesting about France is how assertive everyone is.  Whether you are driving a car, riding a bike, or roaming the streets of Paris on your own two feet you need to be aggressive.  The French tend to be on a mission wherever they are going, similar to New Yorkers, and will run you over if you are in the way.

There were multiple times where I would be walking on the sidewalk and if I didn’t move for someone that was approaching me we would literally collide with one another because they sure as hell weren’t going to move for me.

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The last thing I will say about France, and now that I think of it…most of Europe, was that dogs were rarely on leashes.  They were so well trained and obedient that they would just follow their owners and didn’t bother passerby’s.  Thinking of all the dogs back home in the states, it amazed me of how ill-behaved some of us allow our pets to be.  We could all maybe learn a thing or two from Europeans on that front.

One of my favorite breeds that I constantly saw in France was none other than the French bulldog.  They are so friendly and cuddly looking.  As a fan of both American and English bulldogs, I never took myself for a French bulldog lover, but I was sorely wrong!  They are the cutest and I could have taken one home with me right then and there!!  My friend Natalie is obsessed with them, so instead of me becoming a dog owner, I think I might just talk her into buying one and borrow the little nugget from time to time!

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