Day 13: Culture Clash

13 Jul

For some reason France weather has been A LOT like Michigan weather. Super unpredictable.
We were SUPPOSED to go to the pool today, but it was so dark and gloomy that Courtney and I created other plans.
I headed over to her house and waited with the kids until it was time to pick up Sofia from Tennis.
We all went together and then it hit me.
Today is Léa’s last FULL day with us. She’ll be leaving tomorrow.

The kidsI’m going to miss her! She was so great to Au Pair for. But I didn’t stay sad for long, the point in to enjoy today!
So we picked up Sofia from Tennis and headed back to the house for lunch.
Then their friend Isabella came over and the girls, Constantin and the Courtneys all went to the park!
We got some snacks on the way and walked around St. Germain-en-Laye.
Oh! We also got hairties. TRAVELING TIP * Bring hairties, loads of them.
Courtney and I shared a package of 12 hairties for like 4 euro. So not worth it. One of them on Courtney’s wrist broke as we left the store.
Seriously, great place. The park was HUGE.
The girls had a nice time. Constantin had a great time and The Courtneys got to chill and catch up.

When it was around 5pm we headed back to the house and Courtney and I got ready to go out!
Courtney was off around 5pm and I was off around 6/7pm.

So Courtney caLuxembourg Gardensme over to Villennes, we got ready and grabbed the quickest train into Paris.
We ended up deciding on visiting St. Michel. Specifically, The Luxembourg Gardens, Shakespeare & Co. (bookstore) and to walk around the Latin Quarter.

Okay, so I’m really not a flower person. Before this trip I thought flowers were pretty but a bit time consuming. Now that I’ve seen what gardens can do/be like, I want to just buy a million seed packets from Meijer. (Hey, I’m a recent college grad. Cheap is in the job description.) I definitely want to return to these gardens as well as the ones at the Tulieries and just read a book, or 5.

Shakespeare & Co.After that we headed to the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore. I was hoping they would have some French books that I could get for cheap. But surprisingly, everything was in English. I at least thought they would have a French section or something, it turns out that Shakespeare & Co. is now American owned (knowledge Courtney and I picked up from the Irish guy in France teaching English, he was waiting for his friend to get off work.) We chatted with him a little bit then headed to a crepe place for dinner.
FRANCE TIP – go to the bathroom before you leave the house/train station. This “fun” story will alert you as to why this is important. So Courtney and I had been out for awhile and I had to go to the bathroom. I politely asked this guy in French where the bathroom was, he told me “I sell crepes” the customer in front of him said it was in the room next door.  So I said thank you and walked inside (I mean, I had to go.)

And the way the store was set up, it didn’t look like the same restaurant, there was a window surrounded in blue on the street and then a place to sit down next door covered in wood. My plan was to buy a crepe afterwards, but I didn’t want to bring it with me into the bathroom. Gross.

I walk out of the restaurant to leave and this guy begins SCREAMING at me. “STOP! Okay what you did is so rude. Where are you from?”
Me being caught off-guard and unable to think of another country – “Uh, America?” (Sorry to let you down guys, the French now hate us that much more.)
“You’re supposed to say hello and buy something before not just waltz in here and use the bathroom, you need to appologize to me and to that guy over there who just cleaned the bathrooms.” (I’m acutally making him sound a lot nicer than he did that night. I think this was the point he was trying to get across)
Seriously? I mean, I kind of saw this coming, but I he didn’t even let me say “hey, thanks. I’d really like to get a crepe from your establishment now.” And like I said before, IT LOOKED LIKE TWO DIFFERENT RESTAURANTS. I apologized to him and the other guy, wished him a nice night and left. Didn’t buy a crepe, because being scolded tends to ruin my appetite.
Courtney however, wanted to get a crepe at the place RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET. So I stood there with her. Didn’t buy anything, obviously was WITH another person.
And this guy YELLS in front of the whole street (as if everyone hadn’t heard his fit already) OH, COME ON! And we booked it out of there.

I mean, I knew from my classes that French culture was like this, I knew what to do, I guess I just did it in the wrong order. And I didn’t know I was supposed to apologize to the entire restaurant for doing something that is culturally different. I didn’t kill anyone, lie, or anything.

So Courtney bought crepes for us and we ate them along the Seine. It was a beautiful night with little-to-no rain.
I slept over at Courtneys and we watched an episode of Friends before bed. Living the life.

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2 Responses to “Day 13: Culture Clash”

  1. bethanybelle13 July 15, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    Je suis désolée que tu as eu des problèmes avec l’homme chez le restaurant des crêpes (j’espère qu’il ne représente pas le français typique!). Mais j’adore que tu as trouvé le magasin Shakespeare and Company! Comme une fille qui adore les livres, c’est un des endroits que je veux voir moi-même. J’achèterais un livre, même si c’était en anglais! Et j’adorerais lire dans les beaux jardins aussi. 😉

    • CourtZim July 15, 2012 at 1:39 am #

      C’est d’accord. Il est la prémière personne méchante que j’ai rencontré en France. Plusieurs personnes aiment que je veux parler en francais. Les jardins sont PLUS belles!! Shakespeare et Co. est bien, mais je ne peux pas trouver un livre qui m’interesse. Quand je retournerai aux états-unis, je veux acheter beaucoup des fleurs d’un supermarché (les graines dans les paquets, bien sûr.) Tu me manques! J’espère que tu passes un bon été!!

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