It is officially over. La vie française has ended and I am now off to an intense summer in DC. I am supposed to write my reflections about my year, but I think it will take me a year to be able to verbalize the experience. All I know now is that I do not know how I will eat food elsewhere ever again. I spent my last days in a house where they grow their own strawberries and zucchinis in the garden, there aren’t many gardens like those in the world.
By the end I do admit I had had enough of the French ‘attitude’ if you can call it that. I think of all the countries I’ve visited (about 20), the French in general are the least into politeness. It’s hard to explain. For instance, if you go into a French shoe store a lady will quickly approach you and ask for help, but if you try on the shoes and you decide you do not want them, you better prepare to receive a very rude face because you made her waste her time. It is a generalization, naturally. The same can happen in the US, but it has been experience that it can happen in France much more often.
The service department, I think you can call it, is not top shape in France. If you go into a restaurant and you are seated, but you then decided you want to move because of the sun or whatever, they will not let you (I don’t know why). Anyhow, I think this was the downside to life in France. I mean, I come from a country where labor is cheap, and though you treat people with respect, they can’t ever give you the looks I have gotten in France. But then again, minimum wage here is like 5 times the one at home.
I guess this can in no way be a happy ending, simply because it is overwhelming that it ended. It’s not like leaving college junior year, because I lived with a family for 9 months. I ate amazing food for 9 months. It was like a constant experiment everyday learning something new and seeing new things. I will miss it dearly. I will miss having a castle on every mountaintop I see, and going into some of the most famous museums for hours. Europe’s greatest asset to me is definitely its history. Its rich and long, long history that makes its food and its architecture like no other on earth. I shall be back.