25 July 2013

French Fry Me

Sometimes, I give France a bad rap. You see, France and I don't always see eye to eye. Today for example, I had a company director explain to me why being efficient isn't necessarily considered a value in the French work force, and can even be seen as a bad thing.

This just blows my mind! Why on Earth would you not want your employees and your business to be effective?! I don't get it. But this sure explains a lot... End tangent.

Today, I wanted to tell you about some of the awesome things that happen in France, some of things that make me want to become a little more Frenchified. Let's start with the most superficial.

1. Almost Everyone Dresses Better than I do

No, really. Even my four year-old niece has more fashion sense than I do. Granted, there quite a few exceptions to this rule (at least I like to think there are). There is a sizable chunk of the population that dresses terribly, but most people - in my city at least - really look like they knew what they were doing when they got dressed in the morning.

When I was teaching the high schools here, most of my tenth graders dressed like 25 year old New Yorkers. You're 16, why are you wearing so much eyeliner? And where did you get that bag?!

This great dressing thing is also magical, because most of the clothing stores here are extremely limited when it comes to choice. But I often see girls walking down these cobble-stoned streets in an effortless, "I just threw this outfit together as I was walking out the door, and I still look better than you" sort of way.  To say I'm jealous, would be an understatement. How do they do it?

This is me trying really hard, and I'm wearing a t-shirt and jean shorts.... Yeah.
You can't go wrong with simplicity, right?
2. French Pharmacies

You've heard me go on and on about how wonderful their beauty products are, but what I really love most is their customer service. The French have a terrible (well-earned) reputation for customer service, and while I wouldn't call them rude, they tend to be cold, distant, and refuse to do anything that isn't specifically written out in their job description. This is especially true for government workers.

However, there is one beautiful exception to this rule. Pharmacy workers. I've only run into one buttheaded pharmacist since moving here, which is a miracle.

Here's what happens when you're sick: You don't buy cure-all pills. You go in, tell them what symptoms you have, and they only treat those symptoms. They also take the time to really talk with you and find out what's causing those symptoms, so that they can get you the best, quickest cure possible.

Sure. You might leave the store with five different bottle/pills to take, but you know you'll be feeling better in no time. It's wonderful.




3. Maternity Leave

France is by no means a leading country in women's rights. But they sure do treat pregnant women like Goddesses. I could probably create several entire posts about this one, but I'll write those a few years down the road when I'm going through the process myself. As for today let me just tell you that every working woman, no matter what her job is, is guaranteed a minimum of 16 weeks paid maternity leave.

Also, as soon as you start your maternity leave, they are not allowed to fire you. Even if you commit a huge professional error or they go bankrupt, they have to continue to pay you until the end of your maternity leave.

I know that this can be a politically touchy topic, but I really don't care if people like it or not. I'm certainly not going to argue with you. But as a woman who hopes to have children one day, I think that sounds pretty freaking fantastic.

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Happy Day Before Friday Friends!!!

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