One might think that when living abroad, the most difficult adjustments to make in one's daily life, or vie quotidienne, would be those that result from cultural or linguistic differences. I, however, have found that my most baffling experiences yet have had to do with laundry. It has been the pursuit of a washer and dryer and, even more befuddling, actually figuring out how to use the machines, both here and in Rome, that makes me think, "my life in America is SO easy." It is not the fact that there is no air conditioning any where nor the fact that you have to pay to use public restrooms; even the reality that everything here is at least half the size of things in America (cars, rooms, people) is easy to accept. Consistently, it has been my experiences with washers and dryers that make me think to myself, I heart the U.S.A.
There are other aspects of daily life here that make me think the contrary, I heart la France:
Castles less than 500 metres from my house; the impression you get when walking down the street or sitting at a restaurant that there is no rush. Take your time. Something that I particularly like about Angers is the abundance of crêperies (if you sit down, the meal usually consists of 1) a galette, which is a crêpe with eggs and ham or vegetables; 2) a dessert crêpe...just with sugar is really yummy. Another favorite is chocolate and banana; 3) cidre, the cold, alcoholic, bubbly cider that one traditionally drinks while eating galettes, grâce à la Bretagne) and kebab stands that stay open all night.
The history in Angers is fascinating because it is the heart of French history. It is out of this region, Anjou (of which Angers is the capital), that the lines of French kings came. This is where France was born. Angers is also really different from the France I am used to, la Provence. The fashion here is so preppy. Everyone wears pastel Ralph Lauren and Lacoste polos; boys even wear them with beige sweaters wrapped around their shoulders. Furthermore, no one is without the ultimate prep accessory: the classic Ray-ban Wayfarer. And, bien sûr, all the girls carry Longchamp and boys carry man-purses. I love it. Thankfully, I also have my faithful wayfarers and Longchamp.
My classes here are great. For the month of September I am doing an intensive French program. This means that I am in French language and speaking classes for about 8 hours a day. It is indeed intense, but I love it. I love le français. And, so far, I love Angers.