My husband started his new job today after being laid off since mid-December. We are luckier than most. With this renewed prospect of a second paycheck, all I can think about is moving to France – Paris that is (unless the South of France beckons in the meantime). I watch House Hunters International and tape all the “Paris” episodes so I can watch them over and over again. Anytime Anthony Bourdain travels to France for one of his No Reservations shows, I dream and hope that some day I will end up at home.
You have to understand that living in France is not just changing your geographical location, it’s changing your lifestyle. Europeans live differently. They don’t have a lot of “stuff” like Upper Middle Class Americans do. They live with less and embrace a totally different attitude.
Every time I go back to Paris I feel like I never left. I feel at home, even though for most of my life, my home has been in New Jersey – back in the States. There are noticeable differences between living in France and living in the U.S..
Here are my TOP TEN:
1. In the U.S.A. we cause our electric bills to soar cranking up the AC all summer. In France, if you get to eat in an American-friendly restaurant, that’s about all the air conditioning you’re going to get!
2. In N.J. we shop for carloads full of food (for the giant fridges) and other amenities. In France you shop for the meal you’re eating that night – because let’s face it, the refrigerators are all dorm-style.
3. An American kitchen is equipped will all our necessities. A French kitchen has 2 cooking rings and may have an oven that looks like a microwave, so cooking a turkey will probably be a no-no.
4. In America you’re rushed out of a cafe if you’re just people watching and nursing a beverage. In France you can stay there all day with only one glass of vin blanc.
5. When we go out to dinner we have to leave our dogs at home. In Paris you can bring your pooch to dinner, and from time to time you might see a cute canine running out of the kitchen towards you for a quick pet.
6. We eat a 1 or 2 course dinner between 5pm – 8pm and are still overweight. The French eat a 3 to 5 course dinner between 8:30 pm (when kids are involved) and 11:30 pm and are still naturally thin.
7. I monopolize every closet in my house and even had a shoe closet built. The French have maybe 5 good outfits they wear over and over.
8. Americans live to work. Les Francais work to live.
9. The democrats in the US want to tell you what you can and can’t eat and everyone (including me) frowns upon smoking. The French walk around in a cloud of smoke while eating some fatty pork product or intestines perhaps.
10. If you don’t live in a “town type” environment you can’t walk anywhere for fear that you’ll be run over. Look at Brick, NJ, it’s the strip-mall capital of the world. In Paris you walk everywhere no matter the weather. You enjoy the beautiful architecture and the cafes at every corner where you can park-it and rest up with une coupe de Champagne or un cafe creme.
I was dreaming about my future flat during my in-service today until the bank e-mailed me with a low-balance alert that brought me back to my current existence. Mais en tout cas I refuse to let my dream not become my reality.