Every once in a while, my host mom will bring home some sort of spread. Seeing as how these spreads are usually composed of animal parts no one would normally eat, I always wait until after I eat the spread before I ask what’s in it. It’s a proven method, because otherwise I would not have eaten the rillettes my host mom brought home one time—I thought I was eating tuna, but I wasn’t eating chicken of the sea, I was just eating goose.
Last week my host mom brought home pâté de campagne (meaning, pâté made by a butcher who just throws whatever meat is left over into a mold. If you’ve never had it before, it looks like this.
Anyway, I took some, spread it on a piece of baguette, and ate it. It was delicious. I took another bite, and it tasted different than the first bite. It was like I had bitten into a part of an animal that
people Americans normally don’t eat. Maybe it was a piece of kidney, or liver, or spinal cord.. Who knows. But I kept eating, and it was good despite the variety of tastes each bite contained.
However, this post is actually about my fear of scrapple.
Scrapple, according to my deep research on wikipedia, is also known as “Everything but the oink” and is native to the mid-Atlantic region. I would see it in grocery stores and vomit in my mouth a little. I’d wonder who is assigned the task of making scrapple. Are there even the same animal parts in each scrapple pack? Who would knowingly eat something with the word scrap in its name? Scraps? Scrapple? It looks like how it sounds—like a bunch of scrap animal parts ground up. It can’t possibly have any nutritional value. Scrapple would make me wanna scream out loud “This is 2011, we don’t have to eat like plantation slaves!!”
However, I think eating pâté has showed me that I’m a little uppity.
You see, scrapple isn’t French, nor does it have two accents in its name, but it and pâté are similar in composition. One sounds French and fancy and the other sounds just plain country and poor. So I propose that we rename ‘scrapple’. From now on, I will refer to it as Scrâpplé, thus removing any connotations of animal scraps. And upon my return to the United States, I will face my fears and try that which used to terrify me.
I think business owners everywhere need to be glad black people haven’t discovered the beauty that is “La Sieste”. You see, while you Americans are slaving away from 8-5pm and taking your 30 minute lunch breaks by your computer, we Europeans are working from 9-12 and then from 2:30-5pm.
I know you’re thinking, Hey Naod, what happens in between 12 and 2:30??
Nothing, I tell you, absolutely nothing. The whole city shuts down as people return home to grab lunch, take a nap, and meditate on how awesome it is to work for like 5 hours a day. Of course, there are some disadvantages to 2-1/2 hour breaks like…
1. The Frenchman’s tolerance for work is alarmingly low. Nothing gets done because they just don’t know how to follow through on a task without eating a baguette, drinking wine, and smoking a few cigarettes.
2. Some French people have stank attitudes, so if you want to get something done at 11:50, you might get the typical french stank face reserved solely for customers who want to receive service at 11:50, meaning, you gotta wait till 2:30
3. French people are lazy and inefficient. I took my laptop to the Macintosh store to get my wifi card fixed. The guy said, 2-3 days max. It took them a week. Why? WE CLOSED FROM 12 TO 14:30
4. Everything is closed for 2-1/2 hours. WE CLOSED FROM 12-14:30
There are at least 4 locks on each French door. My host mom told me that Americans students typically have a hard time using the locks on her door. But of I course I’m not the typical American student, now am I?
My host mom gave me a key chain with 5 keys. This is how she explained it to me. Of course she said it in English so I’d understand:
—One for the gate. Okay.
—One for the top lock that you have to turn twice to use. But you only lock the top lock at night when you leave. Fine.
—Then there is the middle lock that you lock when you leave and you’re the last one to leave the house. But if there is someone still inside or if it’s during the middle of the day, the you leave it unlocked. Huh?
—Then the bottom lock which has a round key. You lock that one whenever you leave during the day. And when you’re inside, you lock it from the inside. When you leave during the day, you lock it from the outside along with the middle lock. If you leave at night, then you lock all three. (At this point, I’m just nodding my head and saying Oui)
—Now this 5th key doesn’t open anything, it looks like the other keys so sometimes you might be confused about which key opens which lock. Tu comprends?
Oui, Madame, je comprend.
So I found out today that apparently I’ve been locking the door wrong for the past two weeks.
So when you see a homeless person asking for money on the street, you either:
1. Walk by really fast.
2. Walk by at your normal pace.
3. Say ‘Sorry, I don’t have any money’
4. Reach in your pocket and find some change for him/her.
Back in the States, I don’t have much of a problem passing on a quarter and a couple of dimes over to whoever asks, or even buying some food for them. However, here, I’m just reluctant to do the same because:
1. My money just don’t go as far. When the conversion rate is soooooo crappy, I gotta hold on to my cash.
2. I can’t just reach in my pocket here and know what coin I’m pulling out. There are 1 Euro and 2 Euro pieces, and I definitely don’t feel like fumbling around for change in my pocket, then pulling out like 8 Euros, and then pick out all the 5 centime pieces in front of a homeless person and say, here you go, out of my abundance comes 10 centimes.
3. These homeless people don’t try to engage you in a conversation, they just sit there. DC Homeless people are good for a history lesson, a life story, a ‘God Bless You’, and if you’re lucky, some good crazy rambling.
4. I though French welfare was the ish. Shouldn’t you be somewhere getting free healthcare and some French Stamps de Food?
5. Some people have signs that say, ‘I’m an army veteran’. Lies. You know French people don’t fight wars. You ever heard of Freedom Fries?
In all seriousness, times are rough, if you have the spare change or even a buck, pass it on to someone who needs it a lot more than you do. Don’t worry about what they do with it. If anything, think about how little you need it.
WHERE IS THE HAND SOAP?
WHY IS THE TOILET SEPARATE FROM THE SINK?
WHY DON’T THE FRENCH WASH THEIR HANDS?
I am convinced that the next movie about a plague/contagious disease/apocalyptic 28 days later type movie needs to take place in France. I’ve seen people digging in their noses, ON THE BUS! Even if you don’t shower regularly, can you at least wash your hands, with soap?
I honestly think I could be the Minister of Health for France. I’d start a campaign.
Wash Your Damn Hands. Nothing is Wimpier than a Sick Frenchman.
My host mom owns a cat. I forgot it’s name, I just refer to it as ‘Il’ or it. Look at it all cute & comfy on my bed. Sike. I was very disgusted. It probably has ticks or something.
Anyway, this cat will meow (mioler en français) for everything. It will meow at 6am just to wake me up so I can let it out of the house. It will meow for some cat food. It will meow for me to scratch it. One time I was sitting in my bedroom and the cat walked by my bed, turned its head to me, and meowed as if it were saying ‘deuces’. Straight up gave me the head nod.
My host mom and the cat have conversations. Just today, it kept meowing because it wanted to eat for a third time before noon. She told it to go outside, it kept walking away. She told it to “Allez!” one more time, and the cat did a half-meow to say ‘F- That’ and bucked at her.
It is a Thugged.Out.Feline.
This is just a dramatization. Our cat has no chain. Just that Straight Outta Compton mentality.
Today, I decided to take advantage of my 60 Euro (read: 90 dollar) gym subscription fee to play basketball with other students. Here are a few of my observations.
1. The notion of a traveling violation just does not exist in France (and I’m sure in the rest of Europe). Here, you can pick up the ball and take three whole steps. I swear one guy picked the ball up at the foul line, took three steps and then used a pivot foot to attempt a lay up. Of course he missed though which leads to my next observation.
2. French people don’t like to shoot the basketball. They prefer to pass, or to drive and go for the layup. Of course many of them don’t make the layup because they always go for the reverse under the basket shot in attempt to avoid contact. But of course when they miss, one of the two West African guys on each team comes from behind and taps it in. Leading to the following observation…
3. These French people do NOT box out. Nobody puts a body on anybody. You literally can just walk to the basket and get the rebound. Your new starting center for the University of Nice Flying Frenchmen is… Naod. Womp.
4. Defense? I’m pretty sure they don’t have a word for that in French. When I jumped in the game, I thought we were playing zone, turns out, it was man the whole time. It’s like they grow up learning a zone-man-matador-soccer hybrid defense which leads to missed layup after missed layup.
5. There are no shorts to short and no low tops too low to play ball. I’m surprised I didn’t see anybody roll an ankle.
All in all, it was fun, and I’ll definitely go back to ball.