Okay, so living in another country can feel like you’re living on a different planet, but there are also a lot of things that won’t seem quite so foreign when you travel to France, as an American. Let me give you some examples:
1. Pokemon: I really find it amazing how pervasive Pokemon is globally. I can remember sneak watching Pokemon when it came out in the mid 90’s (because, let’s be real, it wasn’t a friend of many Christian households, once upon a time) and to see my 8 and 5 year old playing with the cards STILL, thousands of miles away from where I grew up is amazing to me.
2. US Pop Music: It’s really funny in France because most people don’t speak English fluently, but the music in all of the grocery stores is American and a lot of French people listen to American Music. The favorite that I’ve noticed, so far, is definitely Katy Perry with Taylor Swift coming in a close second. But it’s pretty funny that, although people sing along, they have no idea what the words mean, half the time.
3. American/British Flags: Most French people don’t really like anyone who isn’t French, but I see SO MANY American and British flags. I see them on backpacks, t-shirts, sweaters and pretty much everything else. It’s like the 4th of July every day.
4. Coca-Cola: If there’s one drink that you can pretty much count on in most restaurants it’s Coke. It’s the American drink found in grocery stores, vending machines and pretty much anywhere else where drinks are sold. When I first came to France I drank a lot of Coke because I was really home sick. But, fun fact: I actually hate coke, and don’t know why pouring poison in my body reminded me of home.
5. Disney! Of course! I live right next to Paris Disneyland, which I haven’t been to yet. But I’m sure that I’ll be headed there at some point in the future (how can I not!). In general, there is about the same amount of Disney influence in Paris as there is in Seattle. Kids here love the movies, and I already own a few more than I did when I lived in the US. What’s nice is that the DVD’s come in English and French, so you can watch either version.
6. Nutella: Fun fact – I had never eaten Nutella before coming to France. But now I’m addicted, like the rest of the world. My favorite it Nutella and banana crêpes. Drool. I also learned while I was in Germany, that Nutella is actually an Italien brand and comes from the combination of the words “nut” and “bella”. Weird.
7. Video games: Video games and gaming are exactly the same in France. They’re just as well loved and the same games are played. My au pair brothers love to play Clash of Clans and own pretty much every type of gaming console.
8. Frozen: Let’s be real, “Let it go” is still echoing off the sides of the Eiffel Tower a year after it’s release. Lucky for me, I happen to LOVE the movie. But it’s still pretty funny how many times I’ve watched it since I’ve been here. I will say it has some of the best dubbing I’ve seen, though, and the characters in French are as good as they are in English.
9. Game of Thrones: Yep. Popular here. Lots of people watch the series, and I can’t wait until the next season starts because I will be watching each episode in our home theater, which has a screen the size of the wall.
10. UNO: Again, games seem to translate well across seas, and Uno is loved by French and Americans alike. It’s really fun to play with my au pair kids because they’re able to work on their English numbers and colors, while playing a game that I absolutely love. I never travel to a house with kids without my deck of UNO cards.
SOCCER: Ok, so it’s not called soccer here. But football is pretty huge in Europe, of course, and France is no different. I love being able to play with my boys, and I love that we can all sit around the TV and enjoy watching a game we all love, and that needs no translation.