For all people say about the French disliking foreigners, I've found the complete opposite. Of course, there are the people who chided me for not speaking French, like the woman at the "Help" desk in the airport who gave me a French map when I asked if they had any English ones (because English was one of the listed languages for the maps), and she said "well, you should be learning French anyways". But I was surprised in my travels yesterday the number of nice, friendly people I encountered on the way. For example, the lady who eyed me in the airport and later stopped by to say hello because she saw me knitting and her daughter knits too. There was also a slightly ridiculous conversation on the RER-B between me, a Brazilian, and a Frenchman. We settled on semi-English but I'm pretty sure that the majority of the understanding was communicated by gesturing and pointing. And then when I finally arrived at Luxembourg and set about hauling my suitcase up the (many) stairs, a nice French guy offered to carry the large one for me while I brought up the smaller one! He and his girlfriend asked me where I was from and how I liked Paris while he lifted my suitcase like a pro. Its much like New Zealand, I find that there are nice people everywhere, if you are patient enough to look for them. And really, I can't complain because I know that if a European person traveled to the States, it would be unlikely that anyone in the stores would speak French (or German, or Dutch, or Russian, etc) and yet I can communicate quite decently here between my broken French and good English. And seriously, would anyone in line at the grocery store be patient while a tourist studied the coins to figure out which one was worth what? So I shouldn't expect that here either!
And adding to the wonderful people in this city, I went to brunch with Sungyon!
We ate at a little cafe in notre quartier and walked a bit. Sungyon helped me find the grocery store (subject of another post later) and a water filter. Yay! Then I showed her my apartment and we chatted about life, research, and everything! It was great to talk with her again! Letters and emails are one thing, but its definitely more fun to catch up in person.
Oh, and across from our cafe was a little boucher and I swear it looked like a picture out of my French textbook!
I wasn't quite daring enough to go in and try to buy anything, plus I leave tomorrow for a conference near Nice so its not really worth buying things because they will go bad by the time I'm back. But watch out for upcoming food tastings! I'm already in love with French pastries.