Tag Archives: bisous

Presque le weekend

Today I did a little bit of everything, watched a visit, helped with busy work, translations, watched ateliers, and helped prepare supplies for next week. I didn’t spend as much time forcing myself to interact with the kids, but I still tried to do little things like asking them if they had fun while helping them wash their hands and stuff. Which was nice because I had less awkward moments and the kids still opened up.

I was a little thrown off during one of the last ateliers. I was helping with the clean up at the end when a little girl comes up to give me a thank you bisous. I was completely shocked, I’ve never bisoused a kid before and I’ve never thought of a bisous as anything other than hello or goodbye. It was the cutest thing in the world, but the poor girl had to wait a few seconds for me to register what was going on. So, update on bisouses: Bisouses can be used in place of thank you hugs for kids, it’s still awkward when people bisous you and in the process give you a new layer of foundation, and I’m finally getting used to initiating the bisous, sometimes.

After work I headed out to meet some friends for dinner in Belleville. It ended up being me, an Italian, and a Chinese; so it was really interesting to compare our countries and try to explain health insurance. We had all the differences covered on that subject, in Italy there’s no need because everyone’s covers and in China no ones covered and it’s just barely starting to exist.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading back to my stage because they asked for a hand since there’s going to be trop de monde au musée. It’ll give me a little bit of pocket-money, but I mostly agreed just for another chance to hear French all day and interact. Hopefully I won’t be too exhausted next week though. Luckily nothing’s open on Sunday so I can sleep in all day long and not feel like I’m missing anything.


Bisous, bisous, Written September 11th

9/11/2010 2:28 AM

I really should be going to bed, but I wanted to right some things down.

One of the most complicated cultural differences in France are the bisous, aka the little cheek kisses.

Ever since we arrived we’ve tried to decipher the bisous. Generally you do one on each cheek, in Avignon you do three, and apparently if you know someone really well you can do four.

Tonight Eliza and I dicussed with another foreign student how we can never tell when to do the bisous. Is it when you meet someone new? When you come and go? What if you see someone multiple times a day? What if you barely know someone?

My interpretation of the bisous is that, it’s different in every situation, but you can generally follow these “rules”

  • Bisous when you meet someone new.
  • When you meet up with friends
  • When you’re saying goodnight to friends (but you gotta bisous practically everyone in the room, not just friends)
  • With certain people who are just addicted to bisous, but don’t worry, they start the bisous every time so you just follow their lead.

Also, the foyer boys said you can pretty much just do whatever you feel like. Like, tonight we did bisous because they’re friends and we were heading to bed after a fun evening. But, if I was just heading out and didn’t feel like making a fuss, I could have just waved goodbye.

Another thing, bisous are hard to do, especially with glasses. It’s just another hand eye coordination thing to figure out. I keep either, hitting people with my glasses, hitting other people’s glasses, or knocking my nose against their cheek when I go to switch sides. Tonight, since my friend and I were both really tired, we kinda knocked heads instead of doing the bisous. (Sorry Rabi!…..Bob)

So, I probably won’t actually understand the bisous for a while, but it does help to talk to people about it. When you realize everyone is having trouble, it becomes less awkward.

9/11/2010 6:38 PM

Now that I’ve actually slept I can finish this post 🙂

Yesterday started with a tour of the Belleville/Menilmontant (I don’t remember exactly) area, with Sebastian. I was kinda tired and didn’t absorb much of the tour, but it was really cool to see the different buildings and courtyards and to learn about art in the area. For example, there’s this artist who does Space Invaders, which are alien mosaics people place around different cities to try and see which city has the most aliens (highly simplified explanation, but it works).

Then we ran to the Sorbonne and sorta ate lunch before class. Phonetics is still my favorite class, the prof is just so happy as she attempts to help me speak French, it’s impossible not to like.

After class my American friend, Lauren, and I went shopping at gilbert jeune and another cheap bookstore. I managed to find a notebook that I didn’t hate, although I need to by a whole puncher because France is weird, and Stardust in French. So, now I finally have something new to read that’s also in French.

Last night was the last night of Ramadan, so the foyer boys had a big dinner and invited a couple friends. It was really cool because not only was the food good, but I got to talk to some nice French girls, which is a huge breakthrough because most of the French girls we’ve met aren’t that easy to talk to for some reason or another.

I ended up hanging out until around 2:30, just talking with people and being typical college students.

I think that’s everything I did yesterday; I’ve been getting really behind with blog posts, so hopefully I’ll have time to write about today tonight.

Bonne Soirée!