Missing France

Indeed I have received plenty of feedback from the last story from family and friends. That was probably my most epic adventure from this adventure abroad, but the majority of my 5 weeks was fairly pleasant and relatively quiet.  Yes, as is to be expected there were a few hiccups along the way.

Today as I was in the car heading back to my apartment after a few days visiting my parents, I just thought about some of the things I miss from France. One could say it has a little bit to do with reverse culture shock.

For one, I’m having to get back into the habit of smiling at people again. 😉 I’m too used to going around looking all serious and half-angry. Took some work to break the habit of smiling at everyone I met, and now I’ve got to break the habit of not smiling. It’s a humorous work in progress! However, I do indeed like hearing a good Texan “Hello, good mornin’!” from a random person I don’t even know in a store. You don’t get that in France generally.

So, what do I miss?

Well, for one…

Not too big of a surprise, right? I think this goes without saying considering the title of this blog. I did have a bit of a shock when I took a sip of coffee after arriving back in the States. It’s so watery and, and, lacking of substance! Only criticism that I have of French coffee is that they don’t put enough of it in a cup. I would get a bang of a caffeine dose in one sip and only would have about two sips left. Quite a disappointment indeed but a good kind of disappointment.

Yes, I miss espressos and perhaps, a crêpe framboise (rasberry) from “Louise” the crêperie most of us went to at least 2-3 times a week while in Reims:

They had a long, long list of other crêpes one could try, and I tried some of the others. However, this one pictured ended up becoming my favorite. I better move on, because I’m really starting to crave it again!

Then, there’s the ice cream. I have to say that I prefer European ice cream infinitely over American. This was quite a delicious treat after a tasty dinner at an Italian restaurant in Reims. It was strawberry ice cream with crême chantilly on top which is very similar to cool whip here in the States. Quite tasty! I devoured this treat rather quickly considering how full I was from the dinner. The little decoration they stuck in it was rather smile-inducing too although unfortunately not edible.

I think it is rather apparent that I miss French food. These are just a few examples of the plethora of pictures I took of food, mainly desserts. Yes, I was that kind of *ahem* tourist.

The other thing I miss is just speaking French with various people and hearing French spoken around me. Yes, I made plenty of mistakes and didn’t always understand what was being said, but it was a good challenge. Now, I’m back in the States specifically Texas where if someone doesn’t speak English, they definitely don’t speak French. A fact I get teased about frequently… I could get on a soap box and retort that, but that’s not the purpose of my post this time around. Continuing on…

I also miss the landscapes. I’m not at all putting down Texas landscapes since they can be quite breath-taking too. I just was so often inspired and amazed at French landscapes.

For example, we took a hike in the countryside of the region of Champagne-Ardenne, France. The professor didn’t feel up to going along, so I eagerly agreed to accompany the students on a hike with the school where they were attending to take French classes. We took a 15 minute train ride from Reims and this was what met our gaze…after it quit raining:

Oh, my goodness, I was so happy!

Of course, this landscape pic as well usually makes most quite happy. I was so happy I even unintentionally did a fashionable model pose sort of…

I was just so moved by the wind in my hair and the Seine underneath me that this pose resulted…mostly due to the wind in my hair.

I do regret to inform you that although I did see my precious Alps again, I did not end up taking pictures of them. That was mostly a result of the fact that it rained, I was exhausted, and my trip was quite short although for the most part enjoyable. However, I immensely enjoyed my 3 hour ride on the train to and from Grenoble because the changing landscape was absolutely majestic. I could see the finger of God in what I saw as it says in Psalms 19:1 ” The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”

What a journey it was, and I have so much more I want to share!

Missing France. I actually think it’s a good thing because you generally only miss that which you really liked or enjoyed.

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2 responses to “Missing France

  1. Hi Stacey,

    I don’t blame you for missing the coffee, the food and, of course, the French countryside! I had the same feelings after I returned home from studying abroad in Italy. Everything at home somehow seemed different.

    I launched a digital magazine called Native Foreigner (www.nativeforeignermag.com) for travelers like yourself who have returned from an extended trip abroad. Please let me know if you’d be interested in contributing an article or photos to the magazine.

    If nothing else, please check out the website as it may give you some ideas on how to deal with the reverse culture shock you’re going through.

    Best of luck with the transition!

    Lindsay Hartfiel

    • Thanks for the tip! I’ve been through reverse culture shock before from the time I studied abroad for a semester three years ago. I think it’s pretty normal, and it’s not really been too bad at all. It’s a lot of fun to reflect on experiences and flip through pictures. 🙂 There’s always the hope of returning again someday!

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