"When good Americans die, they go to Paris." - Oscar Wilde

Monday, March 28, 2011

It Only Happens in France

It's been awhile since I've updated, so I'll give you a quick recap on my life.

Thursday night began classy enough. I attended a jazz concert with my host mom at le Grand Théâtre d'Angers, an old, beautiful Italian theatre with balconies and an elaborately decorated dome ceiling. Very unlike concert halls in the US. I was exhausted after listening to such sweet, relaxing music but I forced myself to go out with my girlfriends. We drank wine at Tapas and then headed to a club. This was my first club experience in Angers, and it was...interesting.

While we were awaiting entry, Lien yells at the bouncer, "Us four American girls, right here!" And if there's one thing you should know about studying abroad, it's that you never say you're an American girl. European men categorize American women as fun and easy, because their knowledge of American culture extends from our exported films and MTV. So after this one of the men behind us coos, "Ohh, American shit. You are American shit?" Adrianne and I shake our heads at Lien's mistake.

A large black man dressed in a fur coat (a pimp, peut-être?) asks us, "Ohh, so you're American?"

"No," we answer. "She's wrong. We're from Canada."

He keeps talking to us but we ignore him. We dance for about half hour and then lounge on one of the couches until it's 2 AM. Time to go home.

Fast forward to Saturday: We arrive in Normandy. We walk through a museum in Caen and read about the World Wars. As we advance through the exposition, I can feel tears burning my eyes. I stay close to my American friends and realize how incredible it is to experience Normandy with other Americans. We feel a sorrow the others can't comprehend. Many of us, including myself, have relatives who fought here.

Look at us. We're far from home in this strange country, and yet we don't feel so far from home. For a moment, we're all feeling the same thing: pride. I really can't explain it. It's like we were the same person for an instant. I felt an incredible bond with the other Americans and a patriotism I can't express in words.

On a less melancholy note, I spent Sunday shitting away the time with my friends. We ate greasy McDoner for lunch, stopped at a café for coffee (comme d'habitude), went to Lien's foyer to discuss Spring Break, and then ate dinner at Tapas. We didn't get home 'til midnight and we had been out since 1 PM.

At Tapas, we ordered dinner but stayed there for another four hours talking. In case you haven't noticed, Tapas is our restaurant of choice. We go at least once a week for drinks and...tapas. Before we left, our waiter set a menu on our table, hinting he wanted us to order something. We asked for the bill instead and he said, "Ça marche" and proceeded to go outside for a smoke break. This isn't the first time this has happened. The restaurant has super shitty service. And the waiter stared at us while he smoked.

Finally, Ashleigh got pissed and walked to the register. The waiter came inside to take our money and as we left, notably tiffed, he offered us free vodka shots with kiwi. Eh, what the hell. We took a shot with us even while there were still customers in the restaurant. I swear, this only happens in France.

I called a taxi to take me home since I've felt less than safe the past few weekends. I've been taking them so often that when I call, the woman says, "Mademoiselle Gabriella?" My taxi driver arrived in a Benz, knew my address already, and took me home. I swear, this could happen in America, but it's cooler in France.

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