Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Here we are! Eek. How can this possibly be my last blog post while in France??! I was supposed to fly home today, obviously, but the ash cloud canceled that flight, conveniently allowing me to spend my last day in France in the Louvre (my original plan was to spend all of yesterday there, but unlike every OTHER museum in the world, the Louvre is open on Mondays but closed on TUESDAYS, UGH). But it ended out working out perfectly, because yesterday ended up being perfect for the Musee D'Orsay and Saint Chappelle, and I still got to see the Mona Lisa, etc. I actually saw it about five separate times because I took so many wrong turns while trying to leave, but that's another story.

In order to commemorate this sad occasion, I've compiled a list of the many important life lessons I learned while living in Bordeaux. The next time you go to France, these may make your transition smoother, so feel free to use them.


1. Don’t type text messages while walking down the street (or, don’t do anything that involves not looking at your feet for that matter). You WILL step in dog poo.

2. Each and every cultural point WILL be closed between the hours of 12 and 2 (2 hour lunch breaks are necessary for anyone who is responsible for sitting down while selling tickets).

3. Ham and Fish definitely count as “vegetarian”.

4. A cappuccino is an extra large cup of espresso with whipped cream on top.

5. You can always have whipped cream on top of a drink if you so desire – for an extra 50 centimes, that is.

6. When your host mom asks you if you have your umbrella because one can never tell if it will rain or not, she means it.

7. Ordering a hot dog actually means ordering the sausages inside an entire baguette (and I say sausages as a plural because you will need at least two to fill up the length of the baguette).

8. If you aren’t putting butter on your rice or radishes, you’re doing something wrong.

9. Being in the middle of the street as you walk across authorizes the cars coming in your direction to speed up.

10. If you’re an older guy, and you need to ask a younger girl for directions to the nearest bookstore, it is apparently perfectly acceptable for the very next words out of your mouth to bluntly be “So, do you want coffee?” no matter how creepy you seem.

11. Don’t forget to find entertainment other than spending money on Sundays – even most grocery stores will not be open (and, when you tell your host mom that this is weird, prepare for her answer that OBVIOUSLY nothing is open– in what kind of world do people have to WORK on SUNDAYS??)

12. When you have a test to take on campus, your tram will break down.

13. Madeleines can be found in bags (à la chips) at the supermarket! It is important to eat a lot of these.

14. When you write Art History papers on Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, remember that while similar, the French words for “sin” and “peach” are not actually interchangeable.

15. Tabasco sauce exists in France – in the Italian section of the grocery store.

16. Think long and hard before explaining foreign concepts to your host mom – sometimes it’s better to stop the explanation before you reach a point when you no longer know how to clarify: “Ohhhh, yes Amelia, I think I understand what you are saying about zeez ‘frozen yogurt’. So, you have the yogurt, and you put the things on top, and then you make it cold somehow?”

17. Playing tag in the park is a perfectly acceptable pastime for a group 21-year-olds who have been cooped up in the rain for the previous four months.

18. Don’t even attempt to wait before eating the macarons you have just purchased at the fancy chocolate store. Simply looking at them will make them crumble.

19. When you ask if your host mom likes margheritas, she will get a gleam in her eye and will half smile, and and then will whisper “Yes Amelia. But only have two”.

20. French doors don’t have doorknobs, and even the keys that fit in the locks will almost never work. Be prepared by having a book with you to keep you busy while you wait for your 11-year-old host brother to come home from school so that he can let you in.

21. A jar of mini pickles is a must-have at any French dinner.

22. A 200-step staircases found inside cathedral bell towers are not subject to the same safety requirements found in other countries (i.e. America). Be careful of that surprise slope while you squeeze against the wall on your way up so that the people coming down can use the same space!

22. The exchange rate between the dollar and the euro will always start to improve just as you leave France.

23. After any French diner, you will always be offered yoghurt. ALWAYS.

24. It was always, in every circumstance, acceptable to wear stripes :)

So there you have it. Done! Can you believe it? I won't believe it until I'm back home in Burbank (kind of like the same way I won't believe my flight hasn't been canceled again until my plane is actually in the air). I hope my blog has been an accurate taste of ma vie bordelaise. AND, just because this is my last blog while on this continent, that doesn't mean that you get to stop reading! Stay tuned for more information/my official blog posts about my two weeks of European travel which I haven't posted yet.

Sigh. I miss macarons and pain au chocolate already! Wow. See you in Pacific Standard Time :)

1 comment:

  1. We've been scoping out places for cannelles and macaroons. We've got both here in SF.