January 10, 2012

Versatile and Missing France

Sara Louise at Sara in Le Petit Village has bestowed upon me the Versatile Blogger Award, and for that I am extremely grateful. I love her blog, and if you’re not already reading it you definitely should be. Thanks Sara Louise!

I’ve been home for a month, and instead of 7 things about me I thought I'd do 7 things I already miss about France:

1. Cheap delicious cheese.
My first week back here I decided to make French onion soup for my family. I went to the grocery store with my dad because he wanted help finding the ingredients as he wasn’t sure what a bouillon cube was or where to find the weird sounding cheese I wanted him to buy. We found some gruyere in the fancy cheese section, and I was beyond shocked to discover it cost 11 dollars.

2. Cheap delicious wine.
On the same grocery store trip we stopped by the wines section and once again I was astounded by how expensive the wine is. Even the cheap wine was expensive compared to French prices. Of course you can buy very expensive wine in France as well, but why bother when you’re poor and a 3euro bottle is more than sufficiently delicious?

3. Baguettes.
I knew I’d miss French bread, but what I wasn’t expecting was to no longer like sourdough bread. The whole time I’ve been in France I’ve been claiming I missed it, but I’ve tried to eat sourdough bread toast three times since I’ve been out here, and I can’t handle the bitterness in my mouth.

4. Real Belgian Beer Christmas Brews.
I have seen two giant billboards advertising Stella Artois as a “Christmas beer.” I also had it proposed to me by a bar tender calling it the Christmas beer. In Lille and Belgium, the breweries make special limited addition Christmas brews and sell it only during the holiday season. These bières de noël (Christmas beers) are delicious and I can’t get enough of them during the holidays. Stella is just Stella. Nothing Christmas-y about it. I also miss all the delicious beer in general.

5. Cobblestone and buildings being older than 60 by a long shot.

Place Louise de Bettignies in Lille.

6. Good Public Transit.
I was car-less in France for most of my time there and it never mattered because I could easily walk, metro, or bus to anywhere I wanted to go. That is not the case over here and I have to rely on the generosity of my friends or parents in order to get around.

7. French Télé (TV).
I really did not think I’d miss French TV as there are so many less channels and even fewer programs worth watching, but I miss how their TV is presented. I tried to watch a rerun of How I Met Your Mother over here and I couldn’t handle all the commercials. In France there is usually just one long block of commercials every half hour, instead of having a small amount of commercials every two minutes.
I also miss feeling like I’m accomplishing something while being lazy and watching TV. In France I could always claim I was “practicing my French.” Here I have no excuse.


And I hereby pass on the Versatile Blogger Award to:
Bread is Pain,
My Peruvian Life is Not a Musical,
Tales from the Chambre de Bonne, and
The Perpetual Passenger.


  1. Wait, are you staying in the US now? Say it ain't so! You're coming back to us right? :-)

  2. I know! That cheese thing always gets me. "You want *how* much for Comte?!?"

    I'm sure France could list more than 7 things it misses about you.

  3. Wow, thank you so much! :)
    I just woke up and this was a lovely surprise to find upon taking my first sip of coffee.

    thank you, again. :)

  4. Are you planning to stay in the States now or return to France? I imagine it must be surreal to you returning home after 11 months in France.

    Our daughter spent nine months in Belgium and found things had changed quite a bit upon her return.

    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you well!

  5. I'm not sure what the beer selection in France looks like, but San Francisco has plenty of places that sell Belgian Christmas Brews. To a lesser extent the same could be said of specialty stores in OC (there's actually a brew store in SJC between Borders/InNOut that has a good beer selection, including Belgian Christmas Brews).

  6. Linds: Sadly I'm back home for a bit! My work visa didn't get approved, but I'm hoping to come back in the fall for my masters.

    Leslie: Thanks! That is so sweet to say :)

    MadamoisElla Coquine: You're welcome! I love reading your blog so it was an easy decission.

    Kris: I'm hoping to return in the fall for grad school, but I'm still working on my apps. Hopefully all will go to plan. And I agree with your daughter, it is very surreal sometimes. Everything's the same but different some how.

    Max: Thanks for the advice! I've seen Belgian beer around, but it's always so darn expensive. I only didn't complain about the price because I felt like I was complaining to much about the cost of things over here, haha. Lille is in the North of France right next to Belgium, so there is a big beer culture over there. I'll definitely take a look at the brew store you recommended :)

  7. Oh yeah, the wine section back in TX killed me! I couldn't get over the prices! I had to pay like $14 for something decent, and it was only decent.
    Hope your visa gets sorted xo

  8. Sara Louise: It's just incredible that people agree to pay so much! I really my visa gets sorted out too, otherwise I have a feeling I'm going to be sober more than I'd like to be, haha.

  9. 11 dollars for some gruyere? Geez, i don't even want to know how much real tasty French cheese costs in your country...

    You say your work visa wasn't approved, that's sad. It must be hard for you being separated from your FBF... Did you get an explanation for this? I didn't think it was difficult to obtain a work visa considering your nationality. I hope things are going to be sorted out soon, you can't keep wasting money on average-quality cheese like this much longer. :-)

  10. Not in France? This makes me sad. Tres triste.

  11. scarpofnowhere: I know, right? That is way too much money for cheese. I've been spoiled by French prices. As you said I do miss FBF a lot being home, and I did get an explanation of sorts for the visa. It's actually a really long and chaotic story, so I'll definitely blog about it soon!

    Joshua: It makes me sad too! But not to worry, I still have loads of pictures of France and lots of stories to tell, so this blog isn't going anywhere (and will remain as French as it ever was).


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