Culture Shock: Lessons Learned in France

By Christina 

I remember packing my things, purging items I no longer needed, and shouting at the movers who due to the pandemic refused to bring my stuff to the docks, thinking that this was going to be the hardest thing I would endure as my family moved from the USA to France. 

I am a first-generation born American, I am half French on my mother’s side, so because of that small fact I grew up more European than American.
My mother didn’t know how to cook, but she did know a think or two about frying up some onions and tomatoes. (Which is still my favorite little snack.) 

Growing up I always felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, I secretly loved onions-which after a lovely trip to Germany taught me to embrace that love and shout it from the rooftops. 

Having said that I thought I wasn’t going to encounter too much culture shock when I moved. 

How I was mightly wrong. 

Life in France

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Here is my first culture shock story that would shock even my French mother! 

Life in France

Andouille Sausage

When I lived in Chartres this was a pride and joy of the small town. This and the candy they are known for, Mentchikoff-which is AMAZING!!!

So back to the sausage, our friend Ben was visiting us over the summer and asked if we could eat at a crep restaurant which of course we agreed. 

Having been to NOLA (New Orleans) I figured this was the same sausage. I mean they are spelled the same!!!

And I loved the sausage.

Ben also loved andouille sausage, and my husband the nonadventurous man that he is thought he would give it a go. So we all ordered the same crepe with andouille sausage.

 Now, don’t be afraid but it’s about to get real graphic here! 

When the order came, unlike my eating companions I dug in with a passion. The sausage tasted a bit weird but I chalked it up as the ingredients were more refined and non chemically.

However, I quickly knew there was something else going on when  Ben shouted “This sinks!”.

That was when I noticed the smell. I must say the smell was not that bad but the way Ben gagged and waved his hand made the smell for me worse.

At first, I thought maybe something was wrong with his food, but then my husband began to do the same thing.

I started to feel more manly than the two of them until Ben pulled out his cell phone and began to google the andouille sausage.

Once provided with the information he was looking for, he stood up in a rather “I’m shocked” fashion and declared that we were eating the intestine and anus of a pig. 

This is NOT, I repeat NOT the same andouille sausage I knew and loved from NOLA.


Andouille Sausage

(source) Downloaded from Wikipedia 

French Andouille Sausage

As he recreated Scarlett O’Hara’s tantrum, I hid my face. Embarrassed by his outcry that food such as this should be banned and how in the world did I, the French person of the group, not know what type of sausage we were eating? 

After a painful, five minutes, I went inside to pay our bill.

I thanked the waiter, but I couldn’t hide my dissatisfaction with the lunch. He asked me what was wrong, and I began to explain to him how we “Stupid Americans”, had mistaken the sausage for a different one.

With good humor he laughed, since I lived there he teased me and added a gist or two about how I should know better-then he said he would give us something else.

I tried to pay again for the 1st lunch they provided but he said he wouldn’t torture me anymore than I already have been. But he did add with a word of caution, “You are in France now, good food good wine, and no excuse to not know what you’re getting.”

How right you are Mr. Waiter. How right you are! 

Never miss a post!

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Hi, I’m Christina

how i'm managing my anxiety

I’m the coffee-addicted creative behind Christina Q. Writes. As a full-time writer and lover of history, I share insights into my crazy wonderful life.  Christina Q. Writes is where I share tips and advice to help you live simply and in the moment, and do it your way. Don’t be afraid to laugh at my mistakes!