Random Confessions

Cute friend: ‘Hey Ms W, have you been writing of late?’

Me: ‘Eeerm, no, not really, not much going on…’

Cute friend: ‘Surely you must have something interesting to say, especially since you are in France’

Me: ‘…I guess…’

So that is the conversation that inspired this post.  Haven’t done much inspirational travelling of late. (Tried booking a trip to Italy but when I saw the prices I nearly vomited, so, well…)

Neither have I had any profound, life changing experiences, at least not that I can openly share without extreme embarrassment, since I choose not to hide behind a secret internet identity…

But I always wanted to write about the mundane things about my life in France, and it seems that the moment is now. So here goes: a random list of the things I find weird, bizzare or hilarious about my life in France:

1. The only French food I have ever eaten is in the school cafeteria: People like to think that France is the gastronomical capital of the world. Maybe it is, I wouldn’t know. My experience with French food is mostly from the school canteen- that is, under cooked meat, ‘mystery’ stews and some over cooked french beans. Oh, and some very, very frightening cheese.

Don’t you have any french friends?

I do. Only that they are the kind that will make pancakes and eat them with ham (still don’t get it, I hate pancakes, even when they call them ‘crepes’ and dress them up with jam and cheese and fish and make a party around them.) Or buy bread and eat it with some greasy pork fat, elegantly packaged and named as something I cannot remember right now- all I know is that it looks like Kimbo with some black sh*t in it.

Why not go to a French restaurant?

Indeed, why not?

Hmm…let’s see. There are all kinds of cheap here. Cheap Chinese, Cheap Lebanese, Cheap Turkish Kebabs (remember those?), Cheap Japanese, Cheap Congolese, Cheap Afghanistani (yeah, that’s right). Only thing missing here is cheap French. Which does not exist. The day I am willing to spend my rent money on a meal in a french restaurant, you will be the first to know.

2. My effin hostel: I live in a hostel charmingly named ‘Bois’ (the forest). After living there for a couple of weeks, we renamed it the ‘Ghetto’. Why? Well, it is dominated by minorities.   Africans on the first floor, Chinese on the second, Indians on the third, and a few misplaced exchange students and more Africans and chinese on the fourth.

Any time I want to lose my appetite I open the windows and let in the smells of ethnic cooking waft up to my room. Or leave my door ajar, and inhale that very special smell that only six foot plus basketball players can manufacture with their shoes. The smell that sticks to the back of your throat, the kind that only a very, very strong shot of whiskey can erase.

Did I mention that we have to share kitchens and bathrooms? All I can say is that we once found bloody intestines in the kitchen. Where did they come from? Lord knows, because I have never seen anyone buy a live animal here.

3. Embarrassing Africans: It’s not news that we have a poor reputation here, and almost no respect (with the whole thing about the entire African economy being the same as Mexico’s and all that..) but the brothers ain’t helping at all. Any time anyone mentions a story about harrasement, sexual or otherwise, you can bet that somewhere in the story is ‘and this black guy..’.

I’m not saying that all black people behave as though they come from the lawlessness of the Congo forest, but, you know the deal with stereotypes.

One good thing at least, is that no one messes with me. (At least not yet). Though the only people that make me uncomfortable are these gangs of Moroccan/North African boys, who’s moves I  can never predict. And who are contenders for the ‘Most violent/misbehaved’ immigrants, right with the best of them.

4. My classmates: When I was applying for my masters studies (I know, how pompous..) I had these images about how I would suck the knowledge from my wiser, OLDER and more mature classmates. Oh, how I was wrong. I am in a classroom full of fresh faced, barely-out-of-their-teens young’ins like me. On the plus side, the parties rock. On the down side, I am in an intellectual wasteland.  Topics of conversation include: ‘Did you notice that Saad has a big belly like an old man?’, to ‘I wish I had more time to go shopping!’. Spoilt for choice, aren’t I?

5. The old men: I don’t know, the last time I looked at my pictures, I don’t think the word hooker came up. But it doesn’t stop wrinkly little french guys asking what my price is, or desperate middle aged men offering me lifts in their flashy convertibles…

Of course, there is a lesson in all of this. Diversity, multicultural understanding, tolerance and all that jazz. Right now, I cannot see it. But then again, I’m sure that it’s one of those things I will understand once I leave and I can tell everyone, ‘Back when I was living in france…’

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Random Confessions

  1. nairobigal2011

    Why France, of all places, for your graduate studies? DO you study in English?

    Sounds like you do have fun sometimes. Life’s like that, ups and downs!

    Like

    Reply
    1. WairimuM Post author

      Why not France? Beautiful language, top European business schools…and yes, life is only perpetually good if you are either insane or always on coke!

      Like

      Reply
  2. mehboob

    “it doesn’t stop wrinkly little french guys asking what my price is, or desperate middle aged men offering me lifts in their flashy convertibles…” – thatt just killed it!

    Like

    Reply
  3. tim

    Damn this just made my day/early morning haha..The bit about the intestines scared me..I’m still scared. Though I know exactly how you feel about the embarrassing Africans, I don’t even want to start, I hate the stereotypes however I will say this, don’t worry no one will ever mess with you because a) you’re black b)you have dreadlocks and of course c) you are black and have dreadlocks. Laugh out loud.

    Post another and another!

    Like

    Reply
    1. WairimuM Post author

      I know, even some of the guys in my school act like shagzmodoz and chalk bad behavior to ‘it’s our culture’, and I wonder, what culture again?

      Like

      Reply
  4. NJOKS

    I’m trying to look for a part I particularly like most, I don’t know if its the classmates bit, or the embarrassing Africans bit or the old men, I don’t know, I love all of it, the whole piece! I was just picturing you in all these. Lol! I loveee reading your thoughts, you have such a beautiful, easy way of writing and a solid twisted sense of humor and I love how you view the world! It’s beautiful hun! Viva la France! France is clearly what you make it. You should do a proper French dinner, just for the sake. (I’m sure you will have a story thereafter, a sarcastic one at that) C’est hilarious and very entertaining of course! #1 fan of your pieces.
    Always.

    Like

    Reply
  5. Angela K

    Great writing! Am just laughing at my desk..the smell that sticks to the back of the throat and can only be removed by a strong shot of whiskey…he hehe hehe..so funny, I can identify with the embarrassing Africans..woi!

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s