I'm once again saying goodbye (for now I hope) to France. Each trip here is different and while walking around the old town of Nice in search of late night food I had a few thoughts on my upcoming departure and recent stint here. I Love Speaking French
I do. It's empowering to speak a different language, and getting to the point where you've learned to converse means opening a whole new world of cultural learning and connections with locals. The quick inundation of English at the hostel makes me really appreciate having spent a week speaking nothing but French with old and new friends. I will miss it once I'm in Italy and understand nothing!
France is regionally diverse
I had never been to the south of France prior to this trip, save a short few days with Jon to Aix en Provence in the spring. I'd never seen the coast, the famous Cote d'Azur and the French Riviera. Being here makes me appreciate how diverse France is geographically and among it's regions. We love fois gras (despite it not being a friendly practice) but you can't find that here. Want red wine? Yeah it's France you can find it, but you come to the south to drink Rosé - and it's delicious - even the cheap bottles. Having lived in the north in Alsace, to spending the spring in the center to now seeing the south, it's no wonder people call this Europe's Club Med - it has so many different things to offer in so many wonderful ways.
All at the same time I have a love/hate relationship with France. I love the food, the cities and villages, the environment, the fact that it's France. But it also frustrates the heck out of me. The fact that people seem to not know how to walk without obliviously getting in the way; the bureaucracy is out of control; and yeah sometimes people are outright rude (but not everyone - I've spent an amazing week with new friends!) - it irritates me. I also have a strange surge of American patriotism every time I come here. I just love my country so much when I'm in France. I find that interesting... hmmmm.
Saying À Bientot
All in all there's a feeling of sadness every time I leave and I experience it now. When it's all said in done, I know how to be in France. Of course not as much as my own country, but I can get around here, talk with people and even make friends. There's always something interesting, old, funny, dorky, frustrating and wonderful all at the same time.
So I leave France now saying, 'see you soon' because I hope it won't be too long before I come back. Merci encore la France pour toute les plaisirs!
PS: I can't be that sad because I'm going to Rome tomorrow. ROME!!!