PageYourself, I briefed them on what brought me to Paris in the first place: I wanted to study global communications and I wanted to get out of New York, preferably by way of an ocean. My now-boss chuckled in response. "Parisians are dying to be in New York." And it's true. This is one of countless examples.
- Tattoos. I hadn't noticed it, but yeah, I guess biker dudes and wanna-be rock stars are less prevalent in Europe.
- Great service. Waiters who take our order upon seating? Free coffee refills? Quickly cleared and cleaned tables? "Yes, sweetheart, we aren't in France anymore. Don't forget the tip."
- Ice water. According to him, water is simply too cold to drink when you fill it to the brim with ice. Plus, more ice means less water. My mother's opposing argument: lukewarm is not refreshing and water glasses get refilled. (See above).
- Obesity. He didn't outrightly tell me this one, I had to ask. And I did. Because even I was taken aback. It makes me sad to think of what a mess our food system is and the detrimental effects its having on not just small town USA but the world.
- Yoga pants. Though he goes to the gym, he'd never consider his workout clothes everyday-appropriate. Welcome to 'merica? We have to counteract the previous observation somehow. (Whereas in Paris, I was painfully aware of Sunday's outfit).
- Friendliness. My German boyfriend was born and raised in Berlin, so he's a city kid. Strangers generally keep to themselves in cities--no passing "howdy" or "good mornings"--but somehow, we managed to encounter the exceptions. We had random conversations each time we road the elevator in Syracuse. And in Manhattan, on our way to my aunt's apartment, we were stopped by a woman who's question about where we'd gotten such a beautiful bouquet ("thanks for having us for dinner" flowers) led to a casual invite to her 60th birthday party. She was mostly kidding, but it was sweet.
- Exposed fire escapes. He didn't mention them as "so American" until our Lower East Side afternoon. Safety looks good.
- Air conditioning, everywhere. An idea worth spreading, that's all I have to say! The canicule may have gotten to me...