Things I’ve Learned After 3 Months Abroad

December is upon us, would you look at that. While my commitment to regular posts may have slowed down somewhat, life in France certainly has not. The last two months working in a call centre have given me a plethora of rather amusing anecdotes (which I will most certainly touch upon later), but most of my time has been spent explaining things that I don’t understand myself, in a language I can only barely speak. On the whole, my time in France has taught me a great deal so far. Below is a list of lessons I’ve deemed the most valuable (note: some more than others)…

  1. French people take fancy dress very seriously
  2. Basically none of the grammar I learned throughout school and university is used in everyday conversation
  3. It’s not unusual to encounter the Macarena, country line dancing or salsa in a French club
  4. Most supermarkets here are like small cities
  5. Is it a pain au chocolat or a chocolatine?? Much like the scone/scone debate in England, and they will get defensive about it…
  6. In France, almost everything is closed on a Monday… or sometimes a Tuesday, or any other weekday they fancy.
  7. You have absolutely no chance of getting a kebab after a night out
  8. French people will literally use any excuse to stop working for an hour to eat cake
  9. People in England go out to get drunk, here they go out to dance
  10. 9pm is considered too early to eat dinner
  11. I speak much better French if a) I’ve had a drink or two, or b) I’m overtired
  12. The “th” sound is physically impossible for French people to say
  13. Driving French cars is really not as scary as it sounds
  14. They love a good rioting here don’t they…
  15. Simple English delicacies such as Heinz beans and Cadbury chocolate can be found in some large stores, but will cost you an arm and a leg.
  16. “Salut”, “Ciao” and “Bye” are all used to say goodbye in French
  17. French people are not overly polite like the British, they just like to get to the point!
  18. Bread and cheese seem to be the main food groups here, and yet somehow they are all still thin…
  19. Forgetting how stupid you sound and just chatting nonsense for as long as you can is key to becoming fluent.
  20. Going to a boulangerie is guaranteed to solve all your problems (temporarily)
  21. France is a pretty cool place to live.

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