I had heard rumors (mostly on the internets) before I came about how French people just do not smile at random strangers. Unfortunately, I also heard rumor (also on the internets), that if you do happen to accidentally smile at a passing stranger in the street, they usually think you're making fun of them in your mind (if they're female) or welcoming advances (if they're male). This effectively caused me to plan to never make eye contact, especially if it involved smiling, with a stranger in France ever. Ever ever.
|The beautiful roses that greeted me when I first moved in|
Of course, not all of my smiles are well received. In fact, very rarely do I have a smile well received. Usually people don't even look at you when you pass by. They sort of pretend you don't exist. Occasionally someone does actually glance at you, and it's usually kind of scary because they're analyzing you and you feel like they just know all of the stupid American things you've just done and are about to do. And then there's the occasional scowl I receive in response too. But mostly people just don't look. Not even the children.
I've made it a personal competition with myself to see how many people I can get to smile in response. So far it's been two or three.
I've also finally learned how to use the bus system. Why, oh why, don't we have better public transport in the United States? It's quite wonderful not having a car. In fact, I rejoice that I don't have one here. Especially when I see people parallel parking. :) What wonderful blessings He gives me.