It's been two weeks. I guess the shock is slightly wearing off, as we get re-aquainted to life in our beloved homeland.
As always, the blows come unexpected. I thought it might be hard to be back in a French speaking environment - but in the end, I have enough English speakers in my life, including my son, to make this a non-issue, at least for the time being. I dreaded visits to the various administrative offices, but we waited in line a record 10 minutes at la CAF. In the end, the greatest shock comes from space and how people move around occupying it. I do not mean the obvious reduction in living quarters size, which was fully expected. (and to be honest we were incredibly lucky to be able to rent a wonderful apartment a sheer 30% smaller than our place in MD with quite the view...)
However,I did not realize how spoiled we have been, driving our dear Camry around Maryland roads. Because here, the roads (or rather, lanes!) are so narrow that my learner fears of bumping into opposing traffic are vividly coming back. Parking spaces are so tiny that getting into one unscathed feels like a victory. And have I mentioned the bloody flower beds and other variation of concrete blocks startegically positioned on the already narrow car lanes to make drivers think twice about the necessity of taking the car out of the garage today? To add to the challenge of navigating in tiny Legoland, the drivers also have to be reckoned with. Unlike the average US law-abiding citizen, the French driver seems to consider driving rules and regulations as mere suggestions. So you'd better keepon your toes lest one of them should spring on you unexpectedly from the right, left or center!
Funnily enough the same seems to apply to supermarket aisles. I guess all is fair in war and shopping. Having two carts crossing each other in a tiny Monoprix aisle is hard to achieve to begin with, but people are so unbothered with common courtesy that they seem ready to just keel you over to reach for their camembert rather than politely ask you to move over -and loose precious seconds talking to you. Hoping for a break from all this compactness I decided to pay a visit to the local HyperLeclerc, courtessy of our newly updated GPS. Alas, I only ended up hyperventillating and forgetting what I came for in the giant aisles of Safeway, CVS and Target all rolled into one.
But as everyone keeps saying lightly, I'll get used to it.