ATTENTION ATTENTION ZÉ PARTI: I am a complainer, who kisses the first comer to say hello, who guzzles bread all day long, who raises his middle finger to anyone who wants to see it as soon as he gets behind the wheel, I am, I am….. OUIIIII BRAVO, MAURICE! I am French ! Ok, maybe it’s a cliché, but still… We have many habits that shock foreigners who come to discover our beautiful country. Do not deny (not at all) our Scandinavian neighbors!
A quick reminder for those who have dabbled too much in geo lessons: Scandinavia is made up of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland.
1. Kiss each other
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In Scandinavian countries, it’s a big no. Generally, during a first meeting, we shake hands. Subsequently, and outside the professional environment, one can practice the “klem”: hugs and cheek-to-cheek. BUT NO KISS. SMOUACK SMOUACK: WE FORGET. The arrival in France is tough, faced with all these people who exchange their microbes to greet each other. Disgusting.
2. Being unemployed
In detail, the unemployment rate stands at 3.0% in Norway, 6.3% in Sweden, 5.1% in Denmark, 7.7% in Finland and 4.3% in Iceland. An average of just under 5.3% for Scandinavia VS 8.1% in France. I’m not saying it’s always a choice, huh. I’m just saying that there are more of us here, looking for work. That’s it. Calm down, stop getting upset in good French, and adopt a zen Scandinavian mood please.
3. People who don’t speak English and translated movies
Go take a trip to Scandinavia, and you’ll see that everyone speaks perfect English, that their accent is irreproachable, that the students have a habit of going to further improve their mastery of the language by taking a gap year at foreigner after high school, and that we much prefer films in VOST than dubbed. They spik exactly likeuh mee when ouch spick English. Take it from the seed my friend!
4. We buy our bottles of alcohol at the supermarket
In Scandinavian countries, bottles containing more than 3.5% alcohol cannot be sold in supermarkets. You have to go to a specialized store run by the State, and closed on Sundays. Just that. Imagine their surprise, when they land in Paris, and any grocery store offers vodka, gin and rum galore. Is it paradise here or what?
5. The Frenchman at the wheel insults the whole Earth
While on the Scandinavian side, we are peace. Relax. Calm down, Emile. The cars stop to let pedestrians pass, we don’t complain and the drivers respect the speed limits, even drive below them. When you know that too much access leads directly to the prison box, inevitably, it helps to slow down. Clash of civilizations in Paris, when cars accelerate before crossings so as not to have to stop for two seconds.
6. The French use formal vows
And let it say “you” to the in-laws, to the teacher, to the grocer, to the granny on the street corner and anyone over the age of 18 who is not part of our close circle ( and again, some even address their parents as you say!). In Scandinavia, we take less cabbage. On the side of Norway, for example, the formal mode exists, but it is only used for the administration and the police. Formal to avoid a fine, yes. Otherwise, you can brush yourself, Francine!
7. Students spend their life in school
In France, we start school at 3 years old, and the days extend from 8/9 a.m. to 5/6 p.m. (even 8 p.m. in college) depending on the level. NO BUT IT’S NOT GOOD, FRANCE? You don’t want to dig straight into your amphitheater while we’re at it? Since 2000, Finland has held the unofficial title of the best education system in the world. Just that. And guess what? We spend a lot less time at school! Already, the first return to school does not take place until the age of 7, giving children time to live their childhood, have fun, awaken their senses through play and entertainment. Then, the days are much shorter! The typical school day begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. No excessive homework outside of class and regular breaks during school hours. Why am I learning this two weeks from the end of my studies?
8. We can’t tell the difference between the all-comers trash and the cardboard trash can
Not being screwed about sorting correctly, in short. While the French darons are still wondering if the preserves can be recycled or not, the Swedes are 99% of their waste recycled. We have a lot to learn.
9. Keep your shoes indoors
In the Scandinavian countries, the question does not even arise: when you enter someone’s house, you take off your shoes. Our shoes being considered filthy, it’s a matter of respect and politeness. We don’t mess up our host’s interior. They must hyperventilate when they come across the tops of the best French media, promoting against all odds the wearing of shoes indoors, in anyone’s home. Oupsie oops.
10. Get pumped up
In France, the piston annoys, but it is commonplace (how do you think I’ve been advancing in life for all these years, exactly? By talent, perhaps? AHAHAHAHAHAH.). According to the backpacker’s site, focusing on the case of Norway, good citizenship is a national virtue. Citizens respect the rules, do not use privileges or plungers, and do not cheat to overtake in queues. Ah, how boring it must be to be civic. Civist? Civic? Not French, what. Ah yes there you go, respectful. That’s how we say, right?
11. Ban wild camping
In France, in addition to being an adventure that takes us out of our little comfort zone, practicing wild camping exposes us to hefty fines, which will undoubtedly make us miss a nice little Airbnb. In Norway, Sweden and Finland, it is quite the opposite! Wild camping is not just allowed, it is part of “access to nature”, itself guaranteed by law! It’s going on a road trip caaaaash.