Posted by: turtlebella | 23 April 2006

Notes of a cross-cultural cross-language sort

Now that I'm a living, walking around actual human being again, I get to notice the quirky little differences between France and the States…

  • There was what I believed is called a Motocross today in Alençon. I'm not entirely sure, but it doesn't seem that it's actually a motorcycle race per se – there were no numbers or other identifying features on the motorcycles or their riders. Perhaps it's more like a rally? But lots of spectators were out, cheering on the participants who were kitted out in their leather. Sometimes two riders per bike. Sometimes the riders had their huge backpacks on their backs. It seems like this is a big deal in Europe (my sample = Portugal and France, ok so an n=2 sucks but…). Funny that we have no real equivalent. I think Sturgis is a whole 'nother thing entirely, from what I've heard.
  • Cuisines means kitchens, I guess. For a couple of days I'd be driving down the road and think, oh, there's a restaurant. But no, just a place that sells kitchen fixtures (and usually bathroom ones- salles de bain I think too). Whereas I always think of cuisine as a fancy (cos it's French) way of saying well, food.
  • French women really do dress stylishly and are quite nicely dressed. Yesterday I nipped into town after doing my field work to get some food. So I was dressed in my field pants, which necessarily get all dirty cos I muck about on the ground in the middle of a meadow, my hiking shoes which were kinda muddy, and a t-shirt. My hair was blown all over the place (which isn't really significantly different from how it looks on any given day, really). And I'm pretty sure I was the worst dressed woman. And this is a small city in a pretty rural area, not Paris by a looonnngg shot.  Now, there are plenty of women in the US that look like they've stepped out of the 1950s version of Junior League, especially in the southern town where my PhD institution was. And plenty of very stylish women in the urban towns of our nation. But there are plenty of not stylish or casually dressed or I just don't really care that much about how I look women too. And here that didn't so much seem to be the case. I checked. 
  • During the above noted nip into town, I got a crepe with nutella from a street food stall. It was DIVINE. The US should SO have these kinds of places.


  1. You’re absolutely right about French women, I’m sure it’s not a stereotype at all. Even when I go to small rural villages in France, the women are stylishly dressed, and I feel like a scruffy bag lady. I can be smart and stylish when I try, but on a day-to-day basis it just doesn’t come effortlessly. :)

  2. hasta la vista baby!

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