In 2014, I had the chance to live in Paris and Geneva (which I did not talk about because Geneva, as beautiful as she is, is a quite boring city to live in). 2015 began in Germany, a country I always particularly cherished. As I did my Erasmus year in Germany a few years ago, I like to think I am pretty familiar with the German-way-of-life, although I am still amazed by it.
Today I wanted to share with you the few things I sometimes miss about France while living in Germany… and some things I really do not miss.
- Things I miss
1) La “french” baguette. No surprise at all. One week ago, a friend of mine came and we wanted to eat a fatty-yet-yummy breakfast. I have to say, all these “brötchen” are damn good but a breakfast without a typical french baguette and some salted butter is like a life without love: empty in the belly.
2) The language. The language barrier exists. Do not get me wrong, I love hearing german (talking is a bit harder for me) and I do not miss that much french language. I would say I understand 80% of what I hear in my good days, but still. Usually, when I have something in my mind that I judge too hard to translate and to say, I prefer not to say anything, which can be quite frustrating.
3) Private jokes and cultural references. Now, these are things any expat can rely on. Each country and each generation have their own references, pop culture or not, and sometimes you can feel alone and misunderstood when there is no way people are going to get the things you are talking about. I guess being a truly successfully expatriate would be to stop missing it in every conversation you have -and to embrace the cultural references of the country you now live in- and it surely takes some time. The cynical sense of humor is also very french but germans can have it as well, it depends on the people you are with. Anyway, “l’humour noir” is sometimes very depressing so I can live without it. A few days. If not, I would call a french friend to have a little bit of it.
4) Flirting. Even if I have a wonderful boyfriend and it does not bother me, it can be nice to feel seduced just for the conventional and funny act of it. Germany seems to be a not-so-passionate country and as a french friend of mine likes to repeat, “Eh ben les allemands c’est pas eux qu’ont inventé la passion…”. I am not sure I totally agree but it is not completely false neither… I guess about that, France has always been and always will be one of a kind. For good and for worse.
- Things I don’t miss
1) La baguette. In every day life, dark or cereals bread is so much better than white bread. My body feels a lot better since I stopped eating white bread to every meal. Germany makes the best bread ever and I am the happiest girl in the world. Also, Germans have bretzels and for that, I would never be grateful enough.
2) The beer prices. To give you an idea: 7 eur. for two pints in a pub, while it would be the price for one beer in Paris (although Paris is extrem, I concur).
3) Grouchy and angry people. The average normal boring french people usually are grumpy and always complaining about stuffs, even when we do not want to hear or care about. Germans are much more stoic and do not share their inner feelings so easily. In a way, I find them more respectful towards others but again, that is my opinion.
4) Flirting. French guys can be annoying. Really annoying. At the end, it is a 50/50 but let me tell you that somehow, I usually feel better when I am in Germany. Could it be possible that I have found what Germans call my “Heimat” (the place you feel at home)?