Tag Archives: interaction

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!


Café, written august 28th

8/28/2010 2:33 AM

Today was very very long, so I probably won’t describe much, I just want to note what I did.

I woke up, went to IFE early so that we could use the internet there. Went to class, learned about the history of Paris, how certain quartiers are changing, how there’s not an intellectual quartier anymore, and the qualities and defaults of parisiens. It was a cool class because my prof made sure to ask questions that would get us talking and had us read things aloud and then go over them piece by piece. I thought I would have trouble staying awake, but with only four people in class and an interesting class it was pretty easy.

Then Christina, Sophia, et moi went to an algerienne restaurant for some couscous, at a very good price. We stopped by their foyer and I got to see just how very spoiled I am. Then we headed towards the Eiffel tower to explore a bit before our next activity, found out the activity had changed so we just switched the metro to the other direction. Walked around the Notre Dame area, saw le Sorbonne, some touristy spots that are nice because they’re open late, walked along the river. Then we decided it was far too cold so we stopped for some chocolate chaud and ended up talking for atleast two hours, so that it was ten pm before we realized we were starving and needed some dinner. Bought falafas, walked some more, headed home.

Eliza and I played cards with the other students again, although this time they also taught us some games.

And then we realized it was 2 am and the common area was closing, so now I’m in bed and very very tired.

A plus tard.

Egyptian Rat Screw, written august 27th

8/27/2010 12:15 AM

Lesson learned from today, well yesterday; never assume the day is done. I was all ready for bed, in my pjs and all, when Eliza came upstairs to see if I wanted some food. We got talking and decided to go downstairs and play cards. There we got talking to another IFEer, Pengpeng, and then met a group of guys who had just finished dinner and offered us some tea. We got talking and drinking tea and laughing over cultural differences, and before we knew it, it was midnight and the guard was telling us to be quiet.

It definitely helped my French, speaking and listening. I have a big problem with understanding different accents, but tonight I was able to pretty much understand French with a hint of Moroccan, Chinese, and well just plain French accents. It definitely helped that they were all guys because for some reason my ears don’t like to understand the deeper voices that most guys have, in any language. So, this definitely helped.

In the end it was just plain fun. It’s nice to be able to just talk to somebody and laugh and not have to worry if you’re using the correct verb tense.

Hopefully I’ll see the group again, but it seems like no matter who you talk to in the foyer, everyone is nice. It’s really cool to finally find a group of people who obviously like languages and French, since they’re here. In the US, a lot of people think it’s annoying to learn another language, and a lot more people think some aspect of French, the people or the language, is stupid. So, it’s refreshing to not have to worry about people disliking my passion.

I really need to sleep, but if I can’t stay awake in class tomorrow, it was definitely worth it J

Micro-onde. Written August 26th

8/26/2010 8:18 PM

Just a little note. I managed to find a good way to eat a really cheap dinner. It’s not the healthiest, but it tasted really good. Microwavable meals. I bought a Chicken, couscous, and veggie dinner for 2.09. It was a little small, but it filled me up just as well as the ham and butter sandwich I keep buying, and now I’ve had my veggies.

Also, I guess now is a pretty busy time because every time I went on the elevator, I was with somebody which never happens. One of the times this guy come in headed to my floor, which is the 7th (well 8th if you americatize it), so he does the whole Bonsoir deal and then asks if I’m new. Which must be really easy to tell, because it’s the second time I’ve been asked. I guess the lost little puppy look tips them off. He also asked if I was from England, which is soooo much better than being asked if you’re American. I may have barely been able to understand the guy’s thick accent, but at least he thought my accent wasn’t quite as bad as the Americans! Whoohoo! I think I’m going to go to bed uber early again tonight, because it seems to help me survive the day. And because the only thing I can think of doing tonight is to try the internet again, and I don’t feel like being disappointed. I did realize that none of the wifis around me are the paris mayor thingy, so I might ask at the front desk how to get internet in my room tomorrow.

One more thing, I am going to run out of hair conditioner pretty soon, and I don’t really like the one I brought, so I finally bought a French beauty supply. I was all proud of myself for remembering that Conditioner is called “after-shampooing” and for not buying the bright green garnier bottles like at home. Then I got back to my room, read all the little details in French, and realized it is Garnier brand, just frenchitized. O well, it sounds like it will work so that’s all that matters. Now I just need to find some French cleaning supplies before my bathroom gets grimy.

On that lovely note, bonne nuit!