Things I Miss the Most About America

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed about living in France. Anyone who knows me at all knows that my love of dressing in stripes and partaking in good food and wine obviously mean I should be European. My obsession with the French culture only escalated when I first arrived in the country. How could I not be in love with the country of wine, cheese, and picture-perfect villages in the countryside? Even the farm animals are prettier here, for crying out loud.

However, I have now been in France for one month, and as much as I love this country, let me tell you… there is something to be said for the good ole US of A. Here are some of the things I miss the most about the motherland:

8) English. I realize that the point of coming to France is being immersed in the language and culture. And while French is a beautiful language and I have learned so much since I first arrived, there is something to be said for being able to understand 100% of what is happening around you. It’s very awkward when a stranger engages you in a nice conversation and you think you’re doing a great job telling them your life story when really they were just asking for the time.

7) Granola Bars. Ok, I am aware that I am surrounded by some of the best food in the world. I can assure you, I certainly consume my fair share of fine cheeses, crepes, and macaroons- but let’s face it, I’m broke, and sometimes it would be nice to have a Kind bar to stave off your hunger during the 3 hour classes. Seriously, I need to have a talk with someone important who can get Kind Bars to go international.

6) Air conditioning. Why doesn’t this continent have A/C?!?!?

5) Screens. As in, the kind that goes on your window. Because there is no air conditioning in any building (see above), you’re forced to have the windows open at all times to get some air flow in the rooms. Except now you have a million insects flying around, because nobody seems to know about the newfangled invention that allows air into a room but keeps bugs outside.

4) Snapchat Stories. Go ahead, judge me. I derive a significant amount of pleasure from reading the Cosmopolitan Snapchat story every day. However, once you’ve been in another country for three weeks, it suddenly changes all the stories to the language of that country. Since French class doesn’t teach you the type of vocabulary that Cosmo uses and my poor translation skills just don’t do it justice, I must now wait until December to resume my daily guilty pleasure.

3) Convenience in general. Need something from the grocery store after 7 pm? Need to visit a bank or other important institution during your lunch break? Want to go absolutely anywhere on a Sunday? Forget about it. The French people love their two hour lunch breaks, and smoke breaks, and weekends, and in general prefer to work as little as possible. Which I obviously don’t blame them for, but it makes for a very stressful customer experience when you need to get anything done.

2) Peanut Butter. Or any sort of almond butter, cashew butter, etc. I love Nutella just as much as the next person (or probably more, since I eat it with every meal), but sometimes a girl just needs a spoonful of peanut butter to make it through the day. Also, how do people live their whole lives without PB&J?!?

1) Electricity. Not that I don’t have electricity here in France, because I do! But ohh boy it is not the same. Not only do you have to use an adapter to use everything that needs to be plugged into the wall, you also need a converter to convert the American voltage to European voltage, which renders half of your appliances absolutely useless. Additionally, sometimes your converter makes your electronics become so hot they almost explode, and when you go to unplug them from the wall, you actually get electrocuted and accidentally blow all the fuses in your dorm. TRUE STORY PEOPLE.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love it here. I am having the time of my life, and I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. However, I’m simply beginning to realize that nothing is perfect. What we lack in the art of leisure time and long meals in America, we make up for with efficiency and convenience- and vice versa.

As much as I love experiencing the European way of life, America will always be my home. And you know what they say: there’s no place like home.

xoxo,

Sarah

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The Adventure Begins

So… I finally made it to France! The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activities and emotions, but I am settled into my new home in Rouen and am ready to get this semester started!

Our first stop was  Paris, where we spent a few days sightseeing (and eating) until our feet and stomachs couldn’t take anymore. We found our favorite restaurant on our very first night in the city:  Le Père Claude, where we discovered the best roasted chicken EVER.

 

Next, we spent a day at the beautiful palace of Versailles. The gardens are a must-see; it is well worth the drive from Paris!

 

Then we were off to the city of Mont-Saint-Michel. What a day! We were up early to beat the crowds, and had to sprint to the top of the mountain to buy tickets for a guided tour, but the view was worth all the walking. If you ever have the chance to visit, Mont-Saint-Michel has a fascinating history and fantastic views of the surrounding area.

Although we didn’t eat in the town because it was crowded and a bit touristy, we stopped in the nearby town of Avranches for lunch. We came across Le pot d’étain  by complete accident, but was a huge hit, because (drum roll)… THEY HAD GLUTEN FREE CRÊPES! Traditional Breton crêpes, which are a savory version known as galettes, use buckwheat flour and are naturally gluten free. The desert kind uses normal flour, but luckily I knew enough French to ask for it to be served with the buckwheat crêpe instead. This restaurant is highly recommended for everyone, but especially my fellow celiacs out there!

 

My personal favorite, the town of Honfleur, was our next detour. Located near where the Seine river meets the ocean, this old world city looked just like a postcard. This quintessential town is exactly what I imagined France would be like:

 

And finally, we arrived at the city of Rouen, where I will be spending the next four months studying at the NEOMA Business School. Although it is not what I initially expected (I literally broke down into tears at the first glimpse of my dorm room), this town is slowly growing on me the longer I’m here.

I look forward to more adventures, so stay tuned for more of my favorite discoveries, both in Rouen and around Europe!

Happy travels,

Sarah