Sunday, January 05, 2020

What Do You Miss in France?

People in the States often ask what we miss while living in France. We usually answer -- the kids. Having been her a few weeks now, we're reminded that we don't see them that frequently even when we're here.
My lame answer is Starbucks, but it's true -- sweet, frothy coffees in a cup as I take walk with friends. I can take walks with friends in France, but it's considered strange to walk with a coffee cup and the closest we have to a Starbucks is a coffee truck that arrives on Wednesday and Saturday during the market.
Au P'tit Plaisir with a line for coffee.
He makes a white mocha, but it's made with syrup rather than thick white chocolate and isn't topped with whipped cream. It's a joy, but it doesn't replace my longing for Starbucks' coffee milkshake.
I think about other friends who have asked me to bring them things from the States, what do they miss? Kris and Derrick want Levi's, only because they're cheaper here. Lou wants graham crackers. Teresa wants cream of tartar.
What do I miss in France that I can get here in the States?
This morning, as I was running in 32 degree weather (that's 0 Celsius) suddenly, my heart soared and a bubble burst from me: "Oh my, I really love running!" and that's when a recent conversation came back to me and I realized that the thing I miss in France is belonging to a gym, where I can lift weights or climb on an elliptical machine or stationary bike.
When I was at the YMCA on New Year's Day, as I got dressed after our water fitness class, a woman came in from the workout room. She was asking everyone how the fitness class was, and I mentioned that I had already run four miles that morning but that I would probably feel the class the next day. She couldn't believe I had run outside and then gone to fitness class.
"I love exercising," I said. And I do. Walking, bike riding, yoga class. I always feel better afterwards.
In our small town in France, there isn't a gym, per se. There's a twice a week exercise class, but that's pretty constricting. The next town over has a yoga class twice a week. There isn't a place to go on my own to work out.
Twenty-two years ago, a trainer taught me how to use the weight machines and said that lifting weights would increase my metabolism, so I started a workout by lifting weights, then moved on to an aerobic workout, feeling certain I was getting a bonus calorie burn.
Sixteen years ago, as I was training for a marathon, I tore my ACL. After surgery, the physical therapist drummed into me how important it was to lift weights so the muscles surrounding my knee were strong to prevent future injuries.
Since I moved to France, I haven't been lifting weights, and I rarely mix up my workout routine.
Luckily, I've been able to join the Y for the time I'm here, piggybacking on Spencer's membership.
Earl and I went to workout yesterday, and I saw a plan for a bodyweight workout that I can do when I return to France.
A future workout plan -- but I hate burpees
Not belonging to a gym is a small sacrifice. I can continue to run in the mornings, surrounded by beautiful mountains and gorgeous sunrises.
The three quills of Quillan early in the morning. 
I can ride my bike 10 miles, stop and have coffee or a drink and ride back home. I can walk and discuss the world's problems with friends close by.
I guess I'll live with not having Starbucks or a gym, but having France instead.


Latane Barton said...

I wish I could have lived in France for a period of my life, so I envy you and am living that dream through you.

heather said...

The thing I always appreciate most about the states after traveling is free refills on drinks in restaurants.

Kiwi said...

I miss my American friends, but it is a blast when they come to visit. France is such a cornucopia of delicious foods and exciting experiences to share.
We have Starbucks (too many) in Paris, but I never developed a taste for their specialty drinks, so we make our own drip coffee with hot milk at home.
When people ask what they can bring from the U.S., I sometimes ask for a Tide pen or other stain remover. Used to miss Crest toothpaste, but discovered it was cheap enough to order a dozen at a time through Amazon.
I sometimes miss the easy one-stop shopping at USA Target stores - going in to buy makeup and toilet paper, and coming out with two new purses, an exercise outfit, a new board game and a 50 inch LED TV monitor! No room for all that stuff in France anyway - so back to good food, history, art and architecture.
The one thing that I cannot get (due to meat import restrictions),and really do miss from time to time, is that soft Mexican chorizo we used to cook up and eat in scrambled eggs back in L.A. Yum! But I console myself by thinking we are likely healthier without it.

Paulita said...

Latane, Thanks for following along. I pledge to write more blog posts about life in France once I return.
Heather, That made me laugh. It's a small thing but I can see how it would be nice. Wine is so inexpensive in France that it feels like a free refill to me.
Kiwi, Yes, I visit Starbucks in Paris when I'm there. I enjoy spending time with my friends in the U.S., but they don't have as much time for me, maybe because they still work. I do prefer a gel toothpaste which is hard to find in France.

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