After the meet and greet yesterday, my friend from UNH and I went to Les Deux Garçons for drinks (It's famous, google it). I ordered my first glass of wine in French. I felt so proud. "Je voudrais un verre de Bagrau rosé s'il vous plaît". Probably wasn't even completely grammatically correct but I was far too happy that the waiter actually understood to care.
Today during orientation we learned a little bit about the culture of France. It's an important subject because we have a whole mandatory lecture on it Wednesday. This morning was really about the basics. The dean of our college started by introducing the golden rule of France. When you walk into an establishment, you say "Bonjour" to the appropriate persons and when you leave "Au revoir". If you do not, it is considered extremely rude and you should not expect to get what you want. Also, he pointed out that the locals will not try to get to know you, it's just their way. They aren't interested in you and you need to figure out how to approach them. Great. He explained that the French are perceived as "standoffish" by many other cultures, but the attitude is better described as a dislike for superficial relationships. The French do not want the have 200 friends they have to say hello to on the street. They want just a few genuine people around them who they will actually stop and talk to.
I'm also starting to realize the kind of person I want to be while I spend my time here. I've observed some of the attitudes and attire of my fellow American IAU students and I must say, I'm worried about our reputation here. They're pretty obnoxious and most of them do not speak a lot of French, or any really. But I'll hold judgement for a while longer and I'll try to get to know more of them in class tomorrow and on our trip to Nice and Monaco this weekend.
à plus tard