1. Thank you so much for all of the positive feedback on the blog changes!
2. This post is a bit long, but if you have the time, hopefully you will enjoy what I have to say!
I finally finished the book Entre Nous by Debra Ollivier. I say "finally" as in, I finally made time to sit down and read!
I really loved this book. It has some really great insight into many eye-opening details on how Americans view life verses Parisians.
Here are a few little tips I am hoping to take with me!
Tip 1: Use more discretion
"The French girl understands that even the smallest gesture is a choice,"
How many times have you done something, and then immediately justified it or blamed it on someone or something else? We are all adults here, (or at least hopefully on our way to becoming one) so shouldn't we "man up" and take responsibility for our actions? Or, maybe we should think before we do something stupid?
Using discretion also involves the art of tactfully saying NO. How many times have you told someone "yes" when you immediately wished you had said "no"? I am one of those people that most people can see right through. They see that I am genuinely a nice person, who is willing to go above and beyond on some tokens, and use this to their own personal advantage. Just because you want to be nice, or be liked does not mean you have to please everyone. Remember, you will never make everyone 100% happy every time. Don't get dragged into someone else's drama or mess. Just say "non"!
"The French girl is brought up to be polite, but she is not necessarily brought up to be a good girl... that Anglo-Saxon imperative to be liked (and be like everyone else) is not high on her list."
Tip 2: Savor your meals
Did you know:
- The French still eat meals as a family (forget rushing to soccer practice or watching les Simpsons)
- A French meal typically lasts 2-3 hours of mouth savoring deliciousness
- Dinner hour is typically 8:00
- The French have a mandatory 35-hour work week. Jealous?
The French find that things that come packaged or canned are a faux pas! In France there are plenty of local and fresh farmer's markets to choose the best ingredients from. French meals are planned around what is available, not what can be made in a "quick and easy" fashion or simply pulled out of a freezer and then popped into an oven. (Think: Go Local!) Eating is meant for enjoyment, not as a chore. Take time to savor the process of cooking and eating an actual meal. Oh, and if you actually take time to enjoy your food, you will more than likely eat slower, which will help you to eat smaller portions. So leave your diet at home and eat what you want, in moderation.
"She will make what is ripe, ready, flourishing--and she will often cook by hand, by smell, by scratch..."
Tip 3: Don't Be Afraid!
"There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees,"
The French have their opinions, and they are not afraid to show it! Oh, and another faux pas? You will never hear the French talk about their work life. Work is meant for (and stays) at work. Life outside of work is meant for playing and conversing. (Think: Having a real conversation!)
The French favor what is real, and forget "Southern Hospitality." The French highly doubt your "have a great day" attitude. It's not that they are trying to be rude, but they don't know why you should put so much energy or effort into someone else's day. If you have a great day, that is your choice. How they spend their day is not really your business. Plus, how genuine were you really being all those times you said "Have a Great day" when what you really wanted to say was: "Go *&$# yourself" instead?
Remember, it's about being genuine. Be nice, but don't say something you don't really mean, and treat everyone with respect. On the same token, don't be rude to someone just because it is their job to "serve" you. Actions speak SO much louder than words! Oh, and also, just be careful. Remember that not everyone appreciates to hear your constant opinion about everything at all times, particularly if it is a personal attack on that person!
Tip 4: Take more time for yourself
"Real life is deep and complex and slowly developed...you cannot experience those fundamental things, or true pleasure in life, without taking your time"
Just like slowing down and taking time to enjoy your meals, take time to enjoy your life. As John Lennon would say: "Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans". Everything will work out the way it was meant to in the end. Just, "Let it be"!
Another thing you won't see in France? Large groups or cliques out in public. The French savor all aspects of their life, including their friends. They tend to only have a few confidants, not a large group or "gang". The open door hospitality we have in the U.S. is very unheard of in Paris. The French only let in those who they know they can trust after years of acquaintance. Aside from that, the French actually enjoy being alone. They go to museums, or even to lunch alone, and they are perfectly fine with that fact, merci beaucoup! It's all about being comfortable and happy with yourself and embracing your uniqueness, not trying to hide it!
"People who know how to employ themselves always find leisure moments, while those who do nothing are forever in a hurry”-Marie Jeanne Roland
Thanks for sticking with it! Hope you found some life lessons that may be relevant to your own life, and if not, thanks for stopping by anyway!