Culture clash? France and England feel very similar most of the time but some things that take getting used to..
KISS ALL THE PEOPLE. You can see the most aggressive looking of men kissing each other delicately on the cheek in greeting. Takes me aback every time, but even more so when someone does it to me. Boundaries are different here…
HANG ALL THE OVERS. Dear Simpsons Pizza/Balti King Leeds, I miss you… I’m getting older, alcohol is hitting me harder the morning after the night before, I need a nasty takeaway to soothe my pain. WHERE ARE THEY ALL?! And more importantly where are the 24 hour ones?
SLACK OFF ALL THE THINGS. A 2 hour lunch time, Sunday shut downs, smoking breaks and a major lack of 24 hour services. The French are so casual. No-one is ever in a rush, and it seems to me that people have more time off than they know what to do with – hence the infamous café culture. I don’t normally acknowledge lunchtime, (tea is my meal damnit!) and the fact that everyone disappears/everything shuts down over these 2 hours can get quite boring/expensive for eating out. Smoking breaks are included in the teaching time of some of my lectures even though it makes so much more sense to just GET ON WITH IT and finish half an hour earlier jeez. And as for Sundays? Nothing is open. Literally. It makes me nervous, even with a full fridge, that I MIGHT eat all my food over the daytime and subsequently die in the evening.
DRINK ALL THE WINE. It is difficult to comprehend that you can buy wine here for €1.20 whereas the WORST brand in England will set you back £4. However, in bars heavier alcohol will set you back a small fortune, no student deals here, just a mere €7 for a very slim glass of SoCo & Lemonade. At least they don’t measure what they pour, makes up for some of the expense.
GO ALL THE PLACES. Trams are on time in Grenoble. To the extent that being next to the tram, scanning your travel pass, is not close enough to make a tram wait for you.
DO ALL THE ADMIN…TOMORROW. Now I’m not sure if it’s the postal system or the people at the receiving end of the admin, but getting any sort of paperwork processed takes forever here. I put an application in for CAF and apparently I shouldn’t expect to hear anything for at least a month. It took me 2 weeks to wait for a room change, even though my new room wasn’t occupied at the time. Banking has been the most ridiculous of all, though Natwest can take equal blame for that. I sent off for a French bank account early September and am yet to receive my debit card. Horrendous, and just plain inconvenient now that I got ahead of myself and moved all my student finance into my french bank via online banking….ERROR. Also, apparently the French just don’t read their emails. Don’t send emails if you ever want to be responded to. GET IN THEIR FACES. Whoever ‘they’ may be.