Katie' Pau Life En France

Ma vie En France

A few things…. February 3, 2010

Filed under: Pau — katiespaulife @ 10:41 pm

So I have a couple of brief updates to post on here:

1) If you’ve seen that “contact me” section…it used to ask not to have care packages sent, because I heard the taxes I could have to pay are high.
After seeing about 7 people in the last week open care packages I’ve changed my mind. Feel free to send me a care package if you want….(cough*mom*cough)

2) I’ve been having a blast with my classmates, especially Kawita! Gone out with her, her boyfriend and some other classmates to the bars 3 times in the last week. Even Saturday, after I gave up on having a life that weekend and crawled into bed, she called me and said, “Want to come to le garage? I’ll pick you up in 10 minutes”. I jumped out of bed, changed, put on some mascara and drank a red bull with vodka at the bar to keep me going!
Kawita is also extremely sweet! She won’t even accept gas money from me when I try to pay her and she is always so patient with my French, I love hanging out with her!
She wanted to go out tonight, but I didn’t, or at least my body doesn’t and neither did Rebecca (Swedish classmate) or Hirokah, but we promised her we’d go out tomorrow night. After making this promise I found out my friend Kim broke up with her boyfriend back home. He wouldn’t let her go to the bars here and then he went to one at home and almost cheated on her, so she ended that and wants me to take her out tomorrow night! I usually solve boy issues with Jessie Engler buying me ice cream and bringing a chick flic over, but I am going to do my best to comfort Kim tomorrow and make sure she has a fun night!

3) Lots of cultural conflicts in my classroom. The most interesting moments have happened with Ravid and two of them were so uncomfortable I had to share them on here:

The first happened in class when the subject of concentration camps came up. Ravid is Jewish and mentioned she visited one, then paused and said, my grandmother did too and started laughing hysterically. I think I was the only other person in the room who laughed at her joke and I was mainly laughing at how uncomfortable everyone else looked. Kim’s eyes widened past the size of quarters and I could tell she was extremely offended by the statement. Everyone else tried to remain as expressionless as possible, but I don’t think Ravid even noticed. The teacher quickly changed subjects.

Then yesterday we had all finished lunch and were working on homework when Cooper pulled a giant ‘chocolate mousse’ Lindt bar out from his backpack. Cooper and Jessica are both Americans who eat lots of candy and cookies during our class breaks, but never offer any to anyone else. The other foreign students always share anything they are eating. Even if they only get one square, they are completely fine with giving the rest of a chocolate bar away. Ravid and I were both staring enviously at Cooper when she caught my eye from across the table and said, “Do Americans never share anything?” Cooper’s mouth was full and he was helpless to defend himself, so I replied that some do, but it isn’t rude not to share something in the US if you paid for it. Throughout the awkward tension I tried my best to remain neutral. Cooper then put the candy bar away, said it was expensive and he didnt have enough to share with everyone. Ravid said she feels you should share something or eat it away from people.
It was an awkward situation for everone present. Cooper left to go eat it elsewhere. I think I might buy a candy bar for the class next week so Ravid’s impression of us isn’t that we are greedy pigs, because this is one of several times she’s been turned down when trying to mooch off the Americans.

The last interesting moment with Ravid was her telling me, Kawita and Rebecca about being present at a terrorist attack. She had to find cover because a guy set off a grenade! That one wasn’t uncomfortable, just fascinating.

4) Met my speaking partner Estelle today. She is a French student at the University who had lunch with me. Some awkward silences, but overall the lunch went well and I’m going to meet up with her again next week!


3 Responses to “A few things….”

  1. Candace Chenoweth Says:

    Hi Katie,
    It’s so great that you are noticing all of these differences in behaviors of people from different cultures, and reflecting on the “whys”… You’ll learn a lot by delving under the surface as you are.

  2. Grandmere Says:

    Katie: It is impolite to eat before others and not to offer. No matter where you are from- Most refuse the offer as they know it is a requisite. However, if not, sharing is nice and enjoying by all.
    Bises, Grandmere

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