kathryne goes to france


God bless america!
31 May 2007, 9:44 am
Filed under: American culture, exchange student, study abroad, travel

Land of the free, home of the brave, where the free refills flow like water and customer service reigns supreme.  Where everyone speaks my native language, where the time is given in 12-hour format, where the first floor button on the elevator actually takes me to the ground floor.  Land of the half-gallon cups of iced coffee, home of the malt ball, the country in which I don’t have to beg for more ketchup.

I’m not quite home yet, but I’m thoroughly enjoying being in the same time zone as my family and spending dollars instead of euros (and especially instead of pounds).

Oh it’s good to be back in this glorious country!



accents, idiosyncracies, misconceptions
21 May 2007, 9:35 am
Filed under: American culture, europe, exchange student, france, study abroad

According to the Californians, I don’t have an Oklahoman accent at all. I could easily pass for a Californian.

According to my French phonetics teacher, I have a “très fort accent americain” (a very strong American accent).

According to my Dutch friend Sitske, I say the word “humongous” a lot. To the point that when she thinks of a word to represent me, the word is humungous. It’s kind of funny, because I don’t think “humungous” is a very fitting representation.

Who knew?

Sidenote: I finally talked to the two Dutch girls who’ve been in my classes. It turned out that they’re not Dutch, though, they’re Swedish. They thought I was Canadian instead of American. I don’t know why I thought they were Dutch or why they thought I was Canadian… but hey, at least we all guessed countries pretty close to our own, right? It’s going to be weird to go home—where everyone’s from Oklahoma or Texas, where everyone has the same accent, where there’s no guessing where so-and-so’s from. Hm.



American-watching
22 April 2007, 11:55 am
Filed under: American culture, europe, exchange student, france, paris, travel

I love figuring out who’s American and watching them try to get around in France. See a group wearing North Face jackets, sweatshirts, and baseball caps? Definitely American. See an overweight guy? He’s more likely to be American than French, that’s for sure. Hear someone butchering the French language, saying mare-see and bone-jour instead of merci and bonjour? Probably American, and probably from the South, but you have to appreciate their effort.

My favorite Americans today:
The lady wearing a windbreaker with the American flag printed on it who was trying to use the subway system and the husband who congratulated her on the other side with a “You’re gettin’ it, baby!”

The family on the subway. The little boy munched on a chocolate pastry while the parents looked at the subway map and tried to decide where to get off. “Should we get off here? No, wait, there? Or there? Oh hell, we’re in France. Nothing makes sense here.”

The teenagers running through Musée d’Orsay. They’re surrounded by statues by Rodin and they’re running toward the gift shop. All I heard one of them say was, “Dude that sucks!”

The classic middle-aged American woman who laughed and pointed to a statue of a man wearing a helmet. “Let’s get out of here, I’m bored. Who is that, anyway?!” she shrieked. I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and say, “Ma’am, his name is Symbolism. You two should get to know each other.”