While in transit today I decided to listen to some old-ecole Edith Piaf on my iPod instead of the usual Wilco and Billy Bragg (okay fine, Akon and T.Pain.) Metro-creepin' with some great classic French music coming out of those earbuds is so much better.
But a walk-to-class song can barely define my progress of blending in and feeling more comfortable in a city that was entirely new to me just a month ago.
I have yet to leave France, so that month should be plenty of time for me to obtain a certain amount of Frenchiness, right?
Well how about we change up the pace of this petite blog and write up a little score sheet of the supposed...
Transformation of Jenna Bean to
This is totally stolen from a column introduced to me by Miss Atassi. Furthermore, the following bullet points may or may not be filled with stereotypes, sweeping generalizations, and cliches. And yes, that Photoshopping was heinous. Just play along, please.
- Post-class picnic on the Seine with, yes, a baguette and cheese = +1
- Getting annoyed with loud American blowing her nose during my Friday afternoon alone time at a museum = +2
- Reading a French newspaper on the way to class in the morning = +2
- Reading a French newspaper on the way to class in the morning with a French-English Dictionary in my lap = -2
- Smiling awkwardly and saying "oui... uh.. oui, bonjour.. I mean bonsoir?" everytime my Madame introduces me to, well, anyone = -1
- Falling asleep on my Metro ride home but timing it perfectly with the intercom voice and waking up two stops before my own = +3
- Getting up and leaving immediately after paying the bill at a restaurant = -2
- Being a single lady = -a billion?
- Going on a 20 Euro budget week (no food or fun) because of a bea-utiful dress purchase at Palais Royal = +5
- Being smoke-free = -5
- Not owning a leather jacket = -2
- Cutting down on electricity usage = +2
- Absolutely freaking out whenever a pigeon flies straight at me = -2
- Drinking tea, and drinking it from a UW Journalism mug = -1
- Being fully caught up on Gossip Girl and LOST but still never having watched any French TV = -2
- Taking a beloved, visiting friend to a highly praised French restaurant by Republique = +2
- Finally making it to said restaurant at 5:00 p.m. when it, and everything else, is closed = -1
- Sitting outside at a cafe, under a heater, on a rainy day after a trip to Musee d'Orsay = +2
- Weighing over 100 pounds = -3
- Dodging doggie-droppings on the street like it's my job = +4
- Making my French teacher laugh = +2
- Learning something new every day about Parisian history, culture and language = +5
- Spending my time with some wonderful Wisconsin folk reminiscing, in English, about State Street and The Terrace = -2
- Eating falafel sandwiches in the Marais on the steps of the St. Paul Cathedral = +3
- Not snarling/puckering my lips while speaking (Dana knows. Correction.. Leel knows.) = -3
- Crepes in the morning, Crepes in the evening, Crepes at supper time (when you have banana and nutella you can eat Crepes anytime) = +2
- Not making out with someone in between bites of my sandwich (because in what world would I ever interrupt sandwich time for such a thing?) = -4
- Stressing about when to book the ideal trip to Italy = +3
- Being chronically late. All the time. = +1
Ooh, but wait, we've got a bonus section! Let's not be racially exclusive here. Yes, the French locals and American students are abundant in Paris, but what about the Arabs? I may have been born in Hinsdale and my Arabic-speaking skills are a little... shotty. But this girl seems to be going back to her roots in this country. So I absolutely must present to you Evidence That Jenna Bean Is Slightly Foreign After All.
- Beginning a strange amount of sentences with "This one time in Syria..." = +1
- Delighting in the discovery of markets selling pita bread = +3
- Having small talk with a man, who could be my cousin, at the kebob shop about the complexity of the Palestinian identity = +4
- Getting my haircut, having my Arab-dar go off, and totally calling that my coiffeur is Lebanese = +2
La Parisienne Jen-na Iiindi = +39
Jenna Arab-not-Hindi = +9
Same ol' Jenna Bean = +1,000,000,028
Well, well, well. It turns out that I still have a ways to go before becoming Little Miss Paris. But if that transformation means having to sacrifice bits of myself for a more-chic-but-kinda-scary French identity, I'll do without. (Queue music played when Uncle Jessie reveals his softer side, please.)
For now I can live with walking the cultural fence and eating this baguette in my Badger sweatpants.