A few weeks ago I found this quote in my room at an Oregon writers conference by Mark Twain from his book, The Innocents Abroad: “In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.”
Twain poked fun at the American tourists in the 19th century visiting gay Paree. But it got me thinking about the other side of the Euro if you will - the life of the expat who's lived in France for awhile. How do you know when you're becoming as local as the locals?
Inspired by Zoe's questions but not the four minute stare, I found some pointed issues that an expat might examine if they're wondering if it's just been too long. Courtesy of the blog, My French Life, with a few adaptions.
1. Do you no longer consider that notebook grid paper so strange?
2. Do you say ‘bonjour’ and ‘au revoir’ to everyone, including the bus driver.
3. Do you find that if you want something from someone, you’ll start your query with “excusez-moi” because that's how to get their attention?
4. Have you stopped giggling when men kiss one another hello?
5. Do you consider bread a utensil to eat with other foods and act accordingly?
6. Do you need cheese like it’s oxygen?
7. Do you believe in long lunches with multiple courses and insist on this with your friends?
8. Do you believe driving more than a few kilometers anywhere requires a weekend?
9. For the Parisian expat, do you never batt an eye when there’s yet another métro strike? Respond with a yawn?
10. Have you accepted that a reasonable response to a question is a shrug and bof with pursed lips? Have you ever conducted a whole conversation in French without saying a word?
11. Do you think calling someone a flea or a cabbage is cute?
12. Have you stopped laughing at the French name Fanny?
I'll leave it up to you if you're going for the four minute stare.