Thursday, February 16, 2012

U.S.A. vs. France

When I saw Megan at Suitcase and Stilettos post a list of things she prefers about life in the U.S. compared to Norway, I thought, huh, that's a good idea, and then when my friend Rachel at Rachel's Rantings in Rio de Janeiro, also did it, I was like, well if the other expats are doing it...
(so yeah, I guess if they jumped off a bridge I might too because I'm totally being a follower).

So without further ado, I give you Ten Things I Like Better About the U.S.A. (and don't worry you Francophiles... I'll do a list where France kicks the US's butt too).

1. Tex-Mex (duh). I'm pretty sure that this would be on most expat's lists (if they like Mexican food anyway) but if you're from like, Texas, or California or something... it's way worse. Sometimes I think my stomach and taste buds feel heartbroken. It's a sad feeling (this was also number 1 on Megan's and Rachel's lists as well, because yeah, that's how much we miss it).

2. Drive through banks, drive through pharmacies, drive through everything. It's not lazy kids, it's convenient.

3. Customer service. Not to generalize an entire population of people that work in the 'customer service' industry, but for the must part, what you have heard about France is true. Come to think of it, they really shouldn't even call it the customer service department over here, it should be called like the, 'I really don't give a cr*p about you and this is a colossal waste of your time' department.

4. Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Walmart, and Target. I spend a lot of my vacation time back in the States here. We're buddies.

5. American grocery stores. It should be noted that France does indeed also have some large grocery stores but it's just not the same... no place like home, you know?

6. Sticking to the shopping theme... stores that are open at insane hours. I'm an early bird, and I like getting stuff done early, so being able to go to Walmart at like 6:30am is hella convenient. Plus, do you have any idea how cool it is to basically have an entire Super Walmart to yourself? Well it's really cool. Kind of like that movie with Jennifer Connelly in it that nobody saw but me.

7. Big fat movie theatres. Last time I was back home in Texas, I got to visit this new monstrosity down the road from my Mom's house. Sure it's a blight on the landscape, but it does make for some super duper luxurious film viewing.


8. Extra large fountain drinks. I love pulling up to a gas station in Texas and running in for a H U G E  root beer or Dr Pepper with loads of crushed ice (I'm all about the crushed ice). And since I'm talking about extra large drinks, I just want to give a shout out to Sonic's 44oz Cherry Limeade... miss ya Boo.

9. American television. Sure I watch television in French, but it's kind of sucky. And it's not the French part, I don't have a problem with the French part, that helps me learn the language, I like the French part. I'm talking about the actual programming. Put it this way, since moving to France, I now watch Walker Texas Ranger and One Tree Hill (or Les Frères Scott as it is called) two shows that I NEVER would have watched back in the States, or even in Dublin for that matter. And don't even get me started on those Spectaculars (Spectacles) that are on some Saturday nights and holidays. They're spectacular alright... spectacularly sucky.


10. Bacon. Bacon. Bacon. And not that weird baconaisse or bacon milkshakes or any of that malarkey, just good old fashioned bacon. I can find something similar to bacon here, it's similar enough to make a BLT, but it's not full on bacon. It's like bacon light or something. It's not the same, it's just not the same (as a tear slowly trickles down my cheek...)

bisou

58 comments:

  1. Thank goodness I'm going to the US soon because your list was making me super homesick! I cannot wait to slurp a giant Dr. Pepper and cram my hand inside a Fritos bag. It's going to happen.

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  2. I love your list! You know my thoughts on grocery stores..I just didn't appreciate the Whole Foods down the street from me enough. And YES to Tex-Mex! I'm not from TX or CA but we like a good night of Mexican and it's hard here. Someone told me yesterday that Chipotle is opening in Paris. That would not be my #1 choice of Mexican, but it may have to suffice?!

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  4. I was in the states 8years ago and after living there for just over a year, I can say I miss about 70% of the things on that list! The other 30% we have here in south africa so I'm sorted :) Oh man I need mexican food so bad right now!!

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  5. Yes. Yes. and Yes. I'd like to add a subcategory onto the US stores for large dressing rooms. I literally laughed out loud when I saw there were 4 dressing rooms in our H&M at the mall (4 to share between men & women for the entire store - are they insane?!?)

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    1. YES! They are SO small and the lines for them are CRAZY!!!

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  6. Do you mean the bacon in the packets that isn't really bacon, well it is but it's a bit like the wimpy little cousin of true bacon?

    You can get your own thicker slices if you go to the meat counter, find 'poitrine' either salé or fumé and ask them to slice it for you into slices of a certain thickness. It's basically the same streaky (the only sort you can get here) but with less water so it's tastier.

    Hope that helps a wee bit...

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  7. woohoo very exciting to see your list because it confirms im not coming completely coming from left field with mine. i feel like i owe verizon an apology letter for all the times i yelled at their 'horrible' customer service, which quite frankly beats even the best customer service ive received here anywhere in europe.

    and what i love most about your list is that most all are the reasons that americans are 'fat'. yet when i lived in the US i was 30 lbs (yea thats right) LIGHTER than i am living in carb-loving norway. its all about consumer choices people!!!!!!!!

    and what i wouldnt freaking GIVE for a store to be open on a sunday...or even, dare i say, 24 HOURS?!

    one cool thing about norway is that the TV here is not dubbed at all. when i watch any american show, it is in english ;) LOVE IT!

    curious to check out this list of france vs. US!

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    1. I'm with you! I've gained 10lbs while living in France and it certainly has nothing to do with me hanging out at a Taco Bell 24/7 or supersizing!

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  8. I'm sure Patrick Sébastien is a very nice person in real life...but I cry when I see that he's the only thing on TV on a snowed in Saturday night.

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  9. Hahaha, drive-through banks and pharmacies??? (I'm assuming that's a joke... but it's funny!)
    And isn't bacon bacon? Well, I guess it's not, I just thought so...

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    1. Wait. Are you joking? You know drive-thru banks and pharmacies are real right? Because they are. And normal. And wonderful.

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  10. Wow. you're list is spot on. I agree with every.single.one. starting with tex-mex being number one. and route 44 vanilla diet coke. (or just fountain drinks to be honest... subway is one of my favorite places to eat out sometimes because it has a soda fountain and an ice machine. and while the soda is not free refills, it still feels a bit like home). And it is true, Chipotle is opening in Paris. We have been waiting for over a year now and the building actually is starting to resemble a restaurant so hopefully it'll open in a matter of weeks. You can make an excuse for a trip to Paris to eat at Chiptole? (what an excuse, haha) Glad to know I am not the only inhabitant in France who misses more than just one thing about the US. Bonne journee!

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    1. I don't know if I'll be able to swing a trip to Paris just for Chipotle, but I do know that when I head that way, I'm going to end up with a burrito in my hand!

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  11. Ha! I remember when I lived in Paris all I wanted was a taco or anything mexican, the closet I found was at a cafe a piece of chicken with some salsa on top

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    1. I'm picturing a very sad piece of chicken and an even sadder girl looking at :(

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  12. I'm completely with you on the customer service part! It's really fend for yourself over here! Anyways, I finally got a job in the customer service sector so I hope I can contribute to good service in France! I also really miss the thousands of varieties of yoga that are available EVERYWHERE in North America.

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  13. when i first saw the title i thought you were talking rugby. and boys you'd like to climb like trees.
    i miss drive thru pharmacies and crushed ice the most.
    a xo

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    1. I do like them rugby boys. Tall and tree-like. x

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  14. I would miss the drive thrus too! So right about the convenience...but, bacon? No way! hahaha

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  15. Being born and raised in California I so feel you on #1. My first stop when I get home from any trip is either our favorite taco shop or the Mexican market down the street from my house. Cannot imagine living with out it and nothing tastes more like home to me.

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  16. LOL lovely list! and ya when I go to the states I do all those things you mentioned too, mmm mexican food & supersize everything!!

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  17. That list was so fine. Oh my you sound like you need a real USA fix pretty soon. Isn't it odd and funny what we Americans do and like? I mean when you think about all the extravagant sized stores and theaters and the insanely huge portions of food, well it is no wonder that Americans are getting BIGGER! Seriously we need to shrink and remember what it was like to say....sit in one single movie house with a downstairs and the balcony playing one movie or even a double feature...going out afterwords for a normal sized meal. The only big stores were Military PX's (I think that was what they were called).

    Oh boy you are so funny!

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  18. I couldn't live without tacos. I don't know how you do it.

    I do love hearing about the differences though! So interesting!

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  19. Well, you don't have to move all the way to France to miss Mexican food. When I moved to Washington from Texas, my love affair with Mexican food ended. I miss it more than I miss family sometimes.

    Also, how about bacon-flavored vodka?! It's heaven. Put it in a bloody mary and you'll hear the angels sing.

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    Replies
    1. Bacon flavoured vodka? No? That's sounds so weird but I'm willing to try it!

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  20. AHHHHHH i miss the bacon, too!!!! and tex-mex and basically everything you mentioned!

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  21. O gosh. I feel terrible for you. If I could, I'd sent an entire Wal-Mart truck to you. But for now, I can't wait to hear how France kicks our butt. lol

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  22. The thing I miss most of all is a normal clothes dryer. I have never gotten over the pain of not having one, and not even being able to get one as they're just not the same in Europe. Bacon, check. Mexican, check. Supermarkets, check. Customer service, check. Marshalls and Tar-szhay, check (we used to like to pronounce it the French way in Boston :-). If allowed, may I add: Nestle's chocolate morsels (for making Toll House cookies - smashing bars of chocolate just isn't right), Mr and Mrs T's spicy bloody Mary mix (I could use one now), Pepperidge Farm breadcrumbs for stuffing and the Bell's seasoning that goes with it, canned chicken broth (that one really kills me), etc, etc. I just realised my list is mostly about food - siiggghhh. Ireland has vastly improved on the ethnic -ingredients -in-grocery-store front in the last decade, I have to admit, but much more so in Dublin, not in Podunk, middle of nowhere, where we live.

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  23. girl - i think you pretty much summarized the good ole USA......food and entertainment and customer service/ease! love it! however.....we don't have all the amazing cheese!

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  24. Oh yes, yes, yes, all of it, totally agree!

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  25. Gah! Life without bacon, target, and drive thru everything is just plain hard...

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  26. Great list! Living in Turkey, I certainly miss pork - bacon, pulled pork, bbq pork ribs, ham - you name it! I also miss Dr. Pepper! But at the same time, when I was back in the US for the holidays, I found myself missing things from Istanbul. =)

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  27. I just had the best laugh when I glanced at your sidebar and noticed Fifty has his own FB! Too funny. Wow... it's weird how things are so different. I would think there would be bacon.. What no pigs in France?! When we visited in 2007 I found the t.v. so strange I got hooked on the French version of American Idol even though I had no idea what they were saying. xo

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  28. I totally get what you mean, while living in Holland I always end up with a big list of things to pick up from Target when visiting home!

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  29. it is interesting to read about things that I just assumed othered countries had...I would probably trade all of these things, though, for life in beautiful France. Or Italy. or Europe in general!

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  30. I feel like I need to jump on this bandwagon too, although I'm sure my list would be a perfect mix of yours and megan's. Tex-Mex would definitely be my number one as well. Oh, man. I miss it, I really do. My mouth is watering just thinking about all that goodness.

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  31. Agree, agree, agree (except for Walmart cuz I don't like that place, I'm a Target loyalist!) Totally am with you on numero uno with the Mexican food and I will be gorging myself when I get back to the states for a vaca. One hundred percent with you on the customer "I don't care about you" service (insert me screaming in frustration). Also there with you on the store hours, although I am on the other side of it and want to be able to pop into a store at 10pm!
    Cracked up on your posts as usual :)
    Ashley (backyardprovence)

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  32. Oh I hands down love America, I wish we could move there. Drive thru banks? Didn't know that!

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  33. I agree with you about the big box stores such as Wal Mart and Target; we always bring a box or two of stuff from those stores with us to France when we come for our house. I guess when you live in California we get spoiled with Mexican food because I have become quite picky as so much of it is really bad. Maybe if I could never get it I would miss it more. I think your list is really spot on.

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  34. Wow. 42 comments.
    I am going to have to add - Hobby Lobby, microwave popcorn, Wendy's frosties, root beer and grape soda.

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  35. Bacon. Nothing like it in France for a Brit either!

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  36. really interesting post and good points too!! maybe ill feature what i like in europe rather than US hehe..mine would be other way round :) love europe!

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  37. You should get a Slingbox to fix your US TV fix, it's awesome (minus the time difference).

    And ugh - I'm slightly mad at you for mentioning Mexican food. I miss it ALL THE TIME.

    And on the large soft drinks note… I WANT FREE REFILLS! I went to McDonald's last night and they didn't even serve still water. Like what?

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  38. I totally agree with you about Tex Mex...its garbage everywhere else.

    Man, I have sooo much to catch up on on your blog!

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  39. well, i hope that you don't jump off a bridge because i enjoy reading your blog...
    i remember when i lived in spain, i was terribly sad to move back to the US, and i told a spanish friend, "i think i just prefer the spanish culture." her response was, "well, now you can adopt the parts of spanish culture and the parts of american culture that you love best." that may be true to a tiny extent, but there are some things you alone cannot change. i really missed mexican food in spain. their attempts at mexican food were oh-so wrong. and i love me some target. but there is SO much i miss about european culture.

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  40. Bacon. It has been ALL about the bacon Chez B since returning to Australia. I still don't get it - the French embrace so many parts of the piggy (even bits that, frankly, should go in the bin or be turned into hot dogs) and yet you can't get a rasher of decent, smoked middle bacon anywhere.

    You know where you CAN get great bacon?
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Just sayin'.

    Gros bisous

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  41. I've just see Fifty on facebook ... so nice!
    I can't believe Fifty is on facebook and I do not!
    He is the most amazing dog in France.
    Bisous, Babi

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  42. Sara you had me agreeing with all of these. Oh how I miss convenience and courtesy! I think the Dutchies could give the French a run for their money in customer unservice and general rudeness! As a cali/az girl I hear you on the real Mexican food...in fact I have friends visiting the states right now that are smuggling me cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and hatch green chillis.

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  43. 1. As much as I'd like to live abroad, I know that not having Tex Mex would be the death of me. I go one week without it and feel like my heart has been ripped out. Trust me, I'd mail you fajitas and enchiladas on the reg if I could!
    2. Palladium! That thing is insane.
    3. Rt 44 cherry limeades are the shit. Best things ever [next to Tex Mex]

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  44. Your list totally applies to the UK! Well done!

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  45. Haha! Great list! I am weeping a little bit myself, thinking about TJ Maxx. I want to get the Maxx for the minimum here to Lisbon, too!!!

    And tex mex... ooooo. I have actually taken to making my own tortillas, salsa, guac, and having fajita night when I can't take it anymore. Even though I am a total gringo, it is about as authentic Mexican as Europe has ever seen. Pitiful.

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  46. I love this list! I agree 100% with all of it!! I'm so thankful for the internet so that I can watch my American shows that I would miss too much!

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  47. Customer service goes without saying... everything else I have to disagree with :-)

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  48. I'm certain I'd die if I couldn't get bacon. We literally have an entire drawer of our freezer FILLED with bacon. If I hadn't married a butcher I might have married bacon.

    If you ever make it to AZ we can eat a few lbs of bacon. I promise!

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