From Lyon with love: 8 Life lessons from the French.
Hello, as the new co-editors of the blog section, Hannah and I thought we should take the opportunity to introduce ourselves.
My name is Amelia and I am a Francophile.
I have just 25% left of my time at Leeds. This is a troubling thought. I am most certainly a fan of prolonging the inevitable and in order to do this I decided to extend my year abroad by three months over the summer. La vie française just suits me. I didn’t think about increasing my employability I just wanted to stay in a beautiful city with some amazing people. Most of all, I did it for the after work wine by the river.
Now I don’t want to get all preachy à la Baz Luhrmann/ Mary Schmich ‘Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen’ on everyone, but this year abroad has made me into a ‘global citizen’ and from my extended viewpoint from my European high horse I wish to share some French life lessons I picked up along the way.
1) If you’re pissed off about something, let it be known!
Dear fellow Brits, don’t be a doormat. Slamming doors in an argument in the UK will earn you a drama queen reputation. However, if we applied this view across the channel you would end up labeling the entire French population. One small act of violence against an inanimate object and the problem is forgotten. I assume door hinges are probably a lot weaker over here though. It’s not healthy to keep your feelings swept under the rug.
2) Relax. Stop stressing out about careers. You are not what you earn.
There is a reason why Monopoly is the board game that tears families apart. In such a dog-eat-dog capitalist environment, even the best of people succumb to the game and exhibit cheating, deceit and greediness *cough* Mum. Work ends at work and the evenings are for everyone.
On my first night in my new apartment my flat mates organized a crémaillère; a housewarming party to welcome me into the fold. Everyone there was so interesting and the average age was 30. There were lawyers, an artist, pharmacists, students, a radio presenter and engineers, to name a few professions. It didn’t matter who you were; everyone was content to come round to drink and dance the night away in our apartment.
3) Never skip meals, especially lunch.
Microwave meals are a big no. Have patience when you’re cooking and always eat at the table. It’s not unheard of to have a two-hour lunch break at work. Sometimes the restaurants even close around 6pm for their staff to enjoy a seated three-course meal.
4) Sundays are not pre-Mondays.
Relax. Sunday is not the time to rush around and get things in order before the week begins. Sundays are for friends and family, for walks in the park and for wine and cheese.
5) Roller-skates can be cool— especially if you wear a suit.
Okay I’m not totally convinced by this one but you have to admit rolling is a far more efficient way to get from A to B than walking.
6) PDA is never a bad thing.
The library, the supermarket, wherever you want really public smooching is an everyday occurrence. Trying to concentrate on revision in the university library proved extremely difficult due to all of the wandering hands and kissing noises.
7) Life’s too short for bad coffee.
The reason why I even go to the bank is to enjoy free Nespresso.
8) Life’s too short for bad wine.
See my previous interview with a genuine French guy on the importance of fine wine.
After I finish my studies I will most certainly be moving back to France. Whatever I end up doing with my life I be doing it the French way.
P.s. this kind of relies on us not leaving the EU so I’d really appreciate it if Britain voted no to the Brexit.