I am back at home and can type on a real keyboard instead of the tiny digital one on my phone!!! But I just got back from a VERY long (and somewhat dramatic!) six and a half hour bus ride so I’m copping out slightly by writing a quick introduction to my fellow Cheer Peppers, especially those I haven’t met yet!
Hi! I’m Anne. I am from Washington, DC (Arlington, VA if you must know…) and I currently live in Marseille, France. This is the second year I have packed my belongings into two small suitcases and flown with them across the ocean to work as an English teacher in French public elementary schools. I’ve been learning French since I was 12 years old, but it’s only in the past 3 or 4 where I have felt truly “fluent” or “proficient” or whatever it’s called when you can pretty much get by on a day to day basis, but still wildly guess the gender of nouns about 85% of the time.
I write mostly stories about living in France, travels that I am lucky enough to have thanks to my government sponsored 8 weeks of paid vacation, weird quirks of the French language or culture, and sometimes silly things like poems about dog poop or photo essays about recess duty.
As I’m gathering ideas for what to write on this month, I’d love to know what YOU’RE interested in learning or gaining a new perspective on about France or the French….
Here’s a story to whet your whistles: I don’t know what it is about French people (especially young French men), but they seem to be convinced that everyone wants to listen to the same music they are listening to. In parks, on subway platforms, on the street, you’ll almost certainly encounter at least one dude or group of dudes listening to rap music or watching a youtube video at full volume, often even with a speaker!
Take for example, the strenuous bus ride I was on earlier tonight. We cross the border out of Italy and take new passengers in Nice. The relatively empty, quiet bus is now full and frankly a bit rambunctious for a bus at 9:00PM. Some men at the back of the bus are not only playing music loud enough for the entire bus to hear, but singing along! Maybe an hour later, the singing has died down but the music is still going strong.
The woman seated behind me has apparently had enough. “Excusez-moi” she shouts towards the back of the bus. “Excuse-moi, je te parle en fait.” She switches into the informal tu. “Excuse-moi, est-ce que tu connais le respect des gens?!”
Ohhhhhhh snap. This lady instantly becomes everyone’s hero.
He’s mad, she’s calm and rational. The secondary bus driver comes back to check it out. “I paid for my ticket!” the dude shouts. “SO DID WE!” everyone basically shouts back. “Listen, the music’s way too loud. You’ll only be on the bus for 40 more minutes, turn it off,” says the secondary conductor. Dude mutters something about how he turned it down what do these people want from him. Ten minutes later, the head driver pulls into a gas station/rest stop. He stomps to the back of the bus. “I AM NOT DEALING WITH THIS ALL THE WAY TO PARIS. IF YOU WANT TO CAUSE PROBLEMS, GET OFF THE BUS.”
Meanwhile, cut to me laughing my head off but silently thinking…..if that lady hadn’t said anything, they would have just let that guy keep playing his dumb rap music all the way to Marseille for the entire bus to hear. WHAT THE HELL, FRANCE. ❂