ANGERS: Je suis de Texas

After nearly a month of being here, I’ve found that one of the perks of living in another country is getting to see the way Europeans view Americans.

Often times when I proclaim to be from Texas, I get an excited reaction. I hear “yeehaw,” a lot, and one person even proceeded to make the motion of riding a horse and then started asking me lots of questions about bar-b-q.

It’s funny how that happens.

I watched a French movie last week called “Paris, Je T’aime” (Paris, I Love You). A majority of the Americans shown in the movie were immensely overweight tourists waddling under the Eiffel Tower with maps and glittery cowboy hats.

So it seems that if you say you’re from America (in France at least), they picture a morbidly obese tourist with a fanny pack and a cheeseburger. One waitress I had at a local restaurant here in Angers brought our table extra baskets of bread, and explained it was because “you English people love to eat.” Touché, Madame. Touché. Americans do love food.

Moreover, if you’re from Texas, they automatically envision you slapping on a cowboy hat on you and your life is now the movie “Giant.” You become the most entertaining person in the world. 

I guess the stereotyping goes both ways though. I half expected (or secretly wanted) the French to be cartoon people with handle bar mustaches and berets who spend all day drinking wine and painting landscapes under the Eiffel Tower.

Believe it or not, we’re not all that different. Even within our opposing cultural and lifestyle values people are generally all the same.

Realizing this has made it that much easier for me to experience the French culture to the point where I now know that I love it. Everything seems so much more laid back here. People aren’t constantly in a hurry. They take naps. Lunch breaks are a priority. Dinner time starts at 8 o’clock at night and ends with a coffee and dessert every time. Now I understand why this culture is so romanticized, and it’s because they take their sweet time with everything they do.

At this point I am sure that I want bring some of my new French lifestyle habits back to my Texas farm life.