|Salut à tous!
I’m going to write a bit about the French culture (these are generalisations of course!):
Everyone knows that the French like to kiss (or rather, to make kissing noises whilst touching cheeks). But did you know that hugging is a huge no-no? In fact, it’s a gesture reserved for comforting someone who is mourning!
Companies are more employee orientated than customer/client orientated. France, as a very bureaucratic country has MANY laws in place to protect employees. I have definitely noticed this attitude in shops etc.
I have also been told that the great difficulty I had in finding somewhere to live over here was not only due to the different concept of time etc but it’s linked to the law!! The government ensure that there is certain legislation in place which deliberately makes it difficult for a rent contract to be finalised (in order to protect renters). Totally logical, right? ;)
The reason many French people are not very willing to communicate in English is apparently due to the “Attitude of Perfectionism”. The mentality is that if you can’t be perfect, don’t do it… if you can’t speak the language as well as the English person you are speaking to, avoid it. Their reluctance is also probably due to the fact that unlike other European countries it is still optional to study English at school and it is taught in a very non-communicative way.
Waiters often don’t appear to be polite. The word “server” means “slave”. They must prove they are not at your beck and call and try to reach a honourable position. If you make it obvious that you are waiting to be served in a restaurant and try to gain the waiters attention, the less likely they will serve you promptly. In this way they are in control.
The French culture has a low “tolerance to frustration”. Harmony and being in agreement are not necessarily seen as a sign of good relationships/friendships. To be able to disagree and have heated arguments can be a sign of closeness and doesn’t mean the participants dislike each other. The French enjoy discussion and challenging ideas and don’t expect you to agree with them. In French, the word “compromise” has negative connotations.
Smiling too much to someone unfamiliar is not seen as a good thing and people may suspect you are untrustworthy! This is something I refuse to comply with, along with the habit of dressing in mostly “classic” colours. ;)
I could go on…. but I have probably bored you sufficiently with the above!
Here are a couple more photos. Last week I had half-term and an old school friend came to stay, which was lovely.
Home sickness kicks in now and then, but it’s to be expected I guess. Overall, being here is too much of a great opportunity to miss!
Hope you’re doing well, keep in touch,