A few things I've noticed since we’ve been here (in no particular order):
1) The French will gladly run you over with their car if they get an opportunity. I’ve actually seen cars go speeding around little, old ladies stranded in the middle of the road rather than letting them finish crossing safely.
2) People here don’t smile easily. Even when my extremely adorable child (ok, I may be a little biased, but have I mentioned she’s adorable?) is smiling and being generally charming, people tend to be pretty unresponsive. Eventually, of course, Anna breaks at least a few. The first to give it up are always men between the ages of about 30-50, which is to say, the dads. Old ladies are surprisingly tough to crack. Maybe they've been hardened by all the drivers trying to run them over!
3) France, probably all of Europe, in fact, is way more family friendly in many ways than the States. Most cultural and governmental institutions are free for kids, often up to age 18. We get a dramatically reduced fare when we travel by train with Anna (and she's free), and our neighbors told us that they actually get paid 250 Euros a month because they have 3 kids. Also, the town of Rouen has transformed much of the downtown to be a holiday oasis for kids right now, with many of the rides and festivities free either for the kids or their accompanying adult.
4) Every skirt I own is too long. Way too long. Acceptable lengths vary from just below the tush to 1 inch above the knee — no longer. I plan to do something about this upon my return!
5) Picking up after your dog must be an American thing. There are piles of dog shit, of varying size, color, and consistency, everywhere.
6) It takes exactly 28 days of my eating excessive amounts of white flour, butter, and sugar to hit my saturation point. And by excessive I mean ridiculous, morning to night, 7 day a week amounts. And by saturation point I mean I haven't had any yet today and it's after 3pm, but that chocolate-almond croissant in the kitchen is starting to regain it's allure.
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