Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What I've learned so far ... in France

There are a plethora of things one can learn while traveling. I like to think of it as a continual out of body experience. For example, when learning an entirely new language its best if you take on a new persona as comparing yourself to your "former" self will only do you a disservice. Here I continually speak a language comparable to a two year old. And, sometimes I think I've learned the correct pronunciation of a word and I am kindly reminded that what I am saying is entirely incorrect. And by the time I figure out the right thing to say I am to exhausted to speak. If you know me, the idea of me being too exhausted to speak is impossible ...  learn a new language you will discover new things about yourself all the time. Sometimes it's just easiest not to speak. But here is the silver lining ... I have improved my listening skills something that I know everyone at some point can improve on. It's pretty refreshing not to speak, a little lonely at times, but again,  I've learned the oh so important skill of listening. :)

So, I can go on and on about how difficult is to speak French but here is what I've learned so far in France (an ongoing list):

Crosswalks are spots reserved for people to enter at their own risk. Drivers will speed up upon seeing "you" in the crosswalk.

When walking on cobblestone streets there is not a man playing the accordion or lovers continually kissing and saying: j'adore, j'adore, j'adoreeeeee.

Wearing workout clothes to a restaurant ie yoga pants is only acceptable in SF, the Marina. Here you will look like an under dressed fool.

French runners are f'ing fast. Every time I enter a race I panic and wonder if this will be the race that I finish dead last. HA not really but kind of.

Learning another language is ... DIFFICULT ...but worth it.

Dreams are not easy ... I am often working, scheming, planning, trying, and hustling continually to do my job. I have become a better photographer here.

People love California :)

I know why I love California now too.

Mexican food is next to null.

Bikram yoga in French is my saving grace.

A hike here is not equivalent to a hike in California, pretty much be prepared to climb a mountain.

I will never ever buy a 2 buck chuck again, but will buy a 2 euro bottle of wine.

Reebok's (you know the shoes) are super cool here.

Waving ... yeah people do not wave here.

Taxi drivers in Paris will and happily rip you off as anywhere else.

Paris is .... insert a plethora of things.

The APERO is my favorite.

and in #tartiflettewetrust ... google it.

What you can expect from this blog now?  More writing, photography, recipes, posts about food, fitness and travel tips, and stories so, stay tuned! 

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Traveling. Many people love it, some fear it, and others dream for the day they can disconnect from "their real life" pack a suitcase, or if you are me overpack a suitcase, by a ticket, pick a destination on a map and go anywhere. For me, I am and still consider myself the later. However, I would say after a series of life events I am a realistic dreamer (I can see beyond rainbows and butterflies, and cupcakes with cherries on top) … it's about time and thank goodness. So, it's only fitting that I am starting up this blog again (online journal) of sorts with a premier post that sheds light on who I am  … an extroverted introvert, free spirited, generally optimistic, strangers like talking to me, (can I say this now) … traveler,  and French and USA photographer.

A couple of months ago:  I decided today would be the day I would buy a French dictionary. Up until now,  I have been perfectly content telling people that I speak "Franglais" and "hey, I speak better French after a glass of wine" but for some reason today was different.

I grabbed 10 Euros (why I only bothered to grab 10 euros is beyond me) stopped for a cappuccino (now I drink espresso) that I sipped while I amused myself with a French tabloid.  I tried to read it as French smut is easy to understand but got so distracted by the photos I read not one sentence. After finishing my drink I quickly proceeded to the bookshop. There I was hit with absolute and total, shocking reality. True and utter reality that: I need to learn French and I do not know as much as I thought I knew. (After writing this post I signed up for intensive French classes, I have improved)

I went to the 10-12 year old section picked up a novel called "geek girl" (don't quote me) and could understand about 25% of the words if I wanted to give myself a headache. So, I then proceeded to the 3-4 year old section: BAM too advanced for these livres I thought to myself and decided to walk upstairs.

Upstairs I immediately was distracted by books in English and decided not to buy a French book (my brain needed a break from French) and a good ole American book would do. BAH!

Note: the books sold in English are a select few and usually are classics that I was forced to read in college and currently make my stomach hurt, romance or sappy love novels that I want nothing to do with, or terribly sad stories and who wants to read sad stories while they are living out their dream … 
not I not I. 

So, it is at this moment where I have a good ole classic panic attack realizing I know little French (panic attacks happen quite often when learning a new language), I am in a country far far far away from the comforts of "home" and that this scenario is in fact "my dream". As my panic attack gets worse I make my way over to the French English dictionaries. I stand here for 15-20 minutes (honestly maybe longer) going back an forth deciding to buy a big dictionary or a small one. Hey size matters when it comes to books :)

After way too long, I pick up a pocket dictionary (less overwhelming) give the cashier 3 euros and 99 cents (almost all I have left from the 10 euros) and leave the bookstore feeling absolutely … awful,  ok not awful, I am being dramatic for the purpose of writing. I leave feeling so French ….  commes ci commes รงa …

and with a pocket size dictionary in hand, my adventure begins.