Linguistic differences can be a bit tricky when you’ve grown up with a mix of Canadian and Metropolitan French. In our mandatory French class, I was able to correctly identify a phrase as being “Français soutenu” (upper-class or “snob” french) because the word “soulier” (shoe) was in it. I knew this because “Soulier” is more commonly used in Québec than France, and therefore was probably older French, and thus “Soutenu”. This led to a discussion of some of the differences between the two dialects with the teacher. Reactions from my classmates ranged from mild curiosity to complete disinterest (We are in Rennes, not Trois-Pistoles, after all).
On a more personal level, being a vegetarian is not always easy in France. I find that people don’t quite understand why I’m not ordering a meat dish during lunch. I’ll begin by asking for vegetables, they hesitate with a blank stare, and then, “Pas de viande???”
As well, being in France takes some courage. Courage to cross the road. Yes, they always stop, but you have to commit to crossing or they won’t take you seriously. I made a fool of myself crossing the street the other day because I couldn’t commit (the driver had to stop three times for me, red-faced with embarrassment, to finally jog across and catch up to my American friend).