Personal Thoughts, Selected Photos, and Culture Revelations shared by Odile

October 2012

La France: Truth or Myth?


Hey WordPress Readers!

I’m hoping that this post will hopefully enlighten those who are inspired to visit or..to re-visit France for a longer period.

1. French toilets are erroneous

…TRUTH! Public restrooms are usually unsanitary, however, there are quite a few which are decent.

If you are in Paris and are in need of a toilet badly, try to find the nearest shopping mall or hotel that will accept you to use their service. Nowadays Paris has become pretty money-minded due to all the tourism; it charges for public toilets. I swear, there is such a thing as ‘French tourism toilet income’, and it’s no guarantee that the priced ones are ‘clean’.

Good luck! SIT AT YOUR OWN RISK :D

2. The French are absolutely rude

MYTH! This has got to be the biggest/most common stereotype about the French (at least from my conversations with Americans). They are not rude. Sure, they may come off slightly reserved at first, but it’s just a matter of you making the first ‘leap of faith’.

It will most certainly take courage but it will be worth the 10 seconds you’ll spend introducing yourself and starting the journey of a new friendship.

In my opinion, the French are not like a majority of Californians who will suddenly jump at you trying to get to know you, and then that will be the first and last time you’ll ever see them.

The French are strong in the area of Friendship Bonding. It takes time and patience, but definitely rewarding.

3. Be fluent in French before visiting the country

MYTH! You don’t need to have spent 5 years of your life learning French..to only let yourself travel there. Wouldn’t that be too strict with yourself? I suggest people who go there to buy a petit livre of conversational French on your trip.

In order to avoid making a bad impression to the French, begin the conversation with a few French words. Don’t worry about your mistakes. Show that you are putting an effort in speaking the foreign language instead of ‘Hello. I come from *name of country*’

See my point?

4. They hate Americans

MYTH! haha, you may breathe now!

French don’t hate Americans, however, they do have a ‘low view’ on them ..in general..and I agree with the French.

I’ll be talking about my personal point of view on this one, so don’t get angry if you think differently. As an example, my classmate has asked me : “Which countries is Chinese or whatever Chinese language is, is spoken?” I just stared at him.

Also, there were quite a few of my friends who had no idea, whatsoever, of whom Andrea Bocelli is.

I don’t listen to Opera music…but at least I know who he is; It’s like someone who does not have a clue of whom Mozart is because he doesn’t play the piano.

For many Californians (I think), their nation is a superpower and that is all that counts. IGNORANCE.

5. La Gastronomie Francaise!

TRUTH! French food is definitely varied.

it is superrr delicious that I can’t even explain using words. French cuisine is extremely authentic and exotic- it varies from chicken to intestines. (Not only do the Latin Americans and Chinese eat those stuff…)

One of my favorite dishes is called ‘Steak Tartare’. In short words for this exquisite dish- it is just raw meat. Unfortunately, I’ve never  prepared it in the States due to the use of unknown amounts of hormones in the meat…

6. The culture is sophisticated and perfect!

TRUTH! but..with an exception.

I know this is sooo general but they are really chic from the areas of fashion to culinary arts. If you’ve heard of so many praises of France throughout your life, it’s not false, and neither is it an exaggeration! It is true!

People who visit France for the first time are completely blown away by the French aspects of the rich culture.

There is an exception to this statement though… In my opinion, there are not many talented French singers; French music is pretty weak. In vocals, they are in need of improvement.

AND THAT’S MARION COTILLARD! <3

7. They Stink

MYTH! What is with this stereotype??

The French are not stinky and therefore don’t smell bad. I’ve met and kissed lots of them but I’ve never had an instance where I thought to myself : “When was the last time he took a shower?”

Also, French perfumes are extraordinary! Most people use those expensive, good-smelling products. THEY SMELL FRESH.

8. Women don’t shave

TRU-MYTH! I’m not too sure about this one…

I can’t say that all women don’t shave..but I did meet this French madame who showed her underarms…and it was bushy (period)

9. Nude French Beaches!

TRUTH! Yesss! There are nude beaches!

Don’t be mislead though- Not all French beaches allow nudity; Only a few beaches do…so tourists, don’t be disappointed if you happen to make a spontaneous drop by a French beach during your vacation and not find a topless woman…:)

10. SMOKING!

TRUTH!

So many smoke….a lot! It’s a habit of the French people. They know it’s bad, but they’ve become addicted.

Many begin smoking at 16…It’s part of the culture…

When visiting Paris, you’ll be exposed to all the Tobacco smoke, so be ready :)

I believe that when the French smoke, it’s more a fashion statement than a liking for it.

He’s Jean Baptiste Maunier :) 

Merci!

Odile


Photo of the Day 6: Comfortable Carpet


Hey WordPress Readers!

This is a photo of myself :) I really love how the light shines through the darkness.

Thanks for visiting!


Neuf Reasons to love Stockholm


Hello WordPress readers!

This post will explain why Stockholm has planted a deep seed in my heart.(I’ve done a ton of research…)

1. Swedes speak English fluently

I wouldn’t have a problem communicating with the natives! Even though I may sound very lazy , I will still be able to stay in my ‘language comfort zone’. I am currently putting effort to learn Swedish through all the available resources I can find.

2. People are genuine and less pretentious then Americans (This statement, I believe that it applies to much of Europe as well)

I’ve had mixed reviews when it comes to calling Swedes “friendly”. Some say that they are very enclosed at first, but when they open up, it’s meant to last for a lifetime. Comparing Americans to Swedes, Americans are quick to open and overly friendly, but are they  sincere? (That would probably be a different story)

3. Stockholm is just like any other Cosmopolitan European city

It has a beautiful relationship with water which is charming to me. Sweden is made of many islands actually. Also, the layout of the city is like any other Swedish design- easy to navigate (transportation!), aesthetic, functional and trendy.

4. Five weeks of vacation!!

My Dad has to work his butt of to ONLY get 2 weeks of break from work. When I see that, I’ve realized that this is what American Capitalism/ American economy is all about.

I’ll speak for the entire continent of Europe on this one; In the States, it’s pure torture!! Once you start working in Europe, you are immediately guaranteed 4 weeks- Why wouldn’t anyone say NO to that offer?

5. #1 Place in the world for women, kids, and homosexuals

Scandinavia can be called the Heaven on the earth. No one hears about the region on the news (exception: Breivik) because no news is good news! Women have respect and are not frowned upon- it’s definitely more egalitarian.

Sweden is one of the safest cities on Earth! There is such a meager amount of crime.

Also, according to a recent survey, Stockholm is rated as the best place for homosexuals to live in. (umm, Not San Francisco)

It’s a Utopia.

6. Men do housework, and take care of kids

This points back to my topic of egalitarianism. Just because they have a wife does not mean that the male has the right to impose ‘women’ jobs on his spouse. Swedish men clean the house, educate the kids as much as a mother would, and cook. Women have much more respect and liberty. I’m not planning to be a lazy Mother..but I’m just in awe of the values of the Swedish culture/society.

7. A Green country!

Sweden is super Green! It’s a country of people that truly love the outdoors and as a return, they respect and love nature to the fullest. About 1/3 of Stockholm consists of parks. Actually, the capital of Sweden is the first city in the world to have established a national park within its city boundary- At the heart of the capital of 1.5 million people.

I would love to study environmental/energy engineering-researching ways to find new resources to fund our world.

8. Summertime in Stockholm

Summer is a huge time for the Swedes! They spend it to the fullest! Sun rises at 4am and ends at 10pm.

9. IKEA-  New Enterprises- good place for new businesses

Lately, many companies have been founded in Stockholm. According to a recent article, Stockholm along with many other Scandinavian capitols were rated best places to provide future jobs. Have you heard of Volvo, Ikea, and H&M? They are all global Swedish successful brands. Just recently, Sweden founded the rising music software- Spotify, and SoundCloud!


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