Katharine over at Paid in China did the really cute post about all the things that no longer shock her about living in China. I thought it was such a cute idea that I wanted to join in, especially since I recently find myself becoming complacent with the things that at once used to drive me crazy.
So without further ado, the 5 things that no longer shock me after living in France:
1) Nothing being open. Most stores and most offices close at lunch from noon - 2 pm, after 7 pm, and all day on Sunday. This makes it difficult to try and get things done. I have learned to get my errands done either during the day or on Saturday. It has taken a lot of organization on my party, but I can finally survive on this type of schedule.
2) Everything closed in August. I have learned to embrace the fact that people take the month off for vacation. In fact, we chose to get out of town at the same time too!
3) 40 days of vacation. I used to think that the French never worked, which is partially true. They do enjoy their vacation time. I don't know how I'm going to go back to only 2 weeks when we finally get back to the States. What am I supposed to do with only 2 weeks?
4) Teeny tiny cars. The first time I saw a Smart Car I thought it was a golf cart on steroids. I have now gotten used to the small cars that people can seem to park almost anywhere! Long gone are the days of seeing a gazillion SUV's on the road. Now I find it normal to see a family of 5 coming out of a tiny 2 door car.
5) Lack of Starbucks and all things American. I struggled when I first moved and couldn't find all of the products I yearned for, including all the things that were supposedly French (like French vanilla creamer - not French)! The biggest adjustment was trying to find a cup of coffee. Whenever I asked for a coffee I would get the tiny cup of what looked like expresso but really wasn't. I have finally learned to ask for a "grande creme" which is a big coffee with milk! Now, I crave them.
While we are at it, here are some that I won't be able to live without when I leave France:
1) Pastries, Breads and all things carb. I love that on every corner there is a bakery making fresh baked goodies. I don't know how I'll survive without picking up a fresh loaf every night before dinner.
2) Chocolate for Breakfast. I don't know what I'll do without my pains au chocolate and my croissants.
3) Terraces and Patios. Everywhere in France you can find a little corner to eat or drink outside. In the summer time, sidewalks and even alleys are transformed into makeshift patios that are filled with life.
4) Public transportation and trains. It is so easy to survive in Europe without a vehicle. You can travel the continent on trains and the public transportation systems in the cities are extremely well developed.