Week of Faux Pas

As I complete my second week of being a Parisian, it’s been a week of faux pas.

A friend of a friend took me to a typical French restaurant today.  On the menu was heavy French cuisine such as escargot, foie gras, and rabbit. I opted for a croque monsieur served with truffles.  It was delicious and I paired it with a glass of local red wine.  We opted for a café afterwards.  He had an espresso, I wanted a cappuccino and asked the waitress if they had soy milk.  She looked at me confused, and I said a regular cappuccino is fine.  My new friend began to laugh at me, saying “they serve rabbit here, I don’t think they will have soy milk.”

And this is just one example of learning the culture here.

Earlier in the week, I popped into a small grocery store.  I had several items in my hand, and placed them down.  The clerk asked in French for “sac” =a bag.  I said “no” I didn’t need one, and pointed to my bag.  I didn’t speak French, she didn’t speak English.   She then said a word I recognized “regarder”, which means “to look,” and asked to see inside my bag. I had two items purchased from a previous store. Then she tried to scan it. Since I don’t know French, I said in English. “No! I bought that from another store.  No!” She didn’t understand me.  And the items didn’t seem to scan.  Then she looked in my other bag with my laptop and purse. I believe she thought I may be stealing. Then she said simply “desolee”, which means sorry.  I was embarrassed and stunned.  *Tip: keep all receipts or only shop at one market at a time.

The most interesting faux pas occurred in my home.  I was making cous cous, purchased from the market above.  Yet, when I began to turn on the kettle, I saw it was broken.  This is probably because my kitchen is so small, and I have to put the kettle away every time for counter space.  It simply fell apart.  As I tried to put the kettle together, I electrocuted myself.  Maybe I am not meant to cook in tiny spaces.

The evening ended today, with my new French friend sending me several store suggestions of where I can most likely find gluten free bread and pasta, but left me with a warning: “Don’t eat too healthy, you’re French now.”

C’est la vie.

I am slowly am beginning my welcome to France.

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