CultureSavor and Enjoy
This a short essay on one difference I have observed between the French and the American way of life.
The French believe that life is to be savored and enjoyed, unlike Americans who see life as a calendar to fill with events. That is not to say that the French are not doers, doing is done more slowly. Hence, they savor the event. Americans want to finish quickly the activity, and then move to the next task.
Example One: Meal Time
The French eat slowly and Americans do not. Americans see a meal as something that must be done, not as something that should be done slowly, so that the food and meal conversation can be enjoyed. When the French eat they savor each bite so as to experience the flavor of the food as much as possible. Then they wait and take another bite, savoring each morsel. After all, food chewed quickly results in the flavors mixing together, making the meal less enjoyable.
Americans see a meal as a mountain to be climbed, to get to the other side. The French on the other hand see the mountain and think climbing the mountain would be enjoyable.
Example Two: Vacation Length
The French vacation for weeks at a time whereas Americans for days at a time. Why? The French do activities in ways that make them the most enjoyable, that takes time. The fast track "If it's Tuesday it must be Belgium" type vacation would never work for the French. There wouldn't be time to just sit and enjoy the experience.. Americans really haven't learned how to enjoy a vacation. Why? First a vacation is not about accomplishing tasks but about enjoying the surroundings. Second, Americans don't see the value in spending time enjoying the moment, Americans see that as wasted time. Time that could be better spent doing tasks.
Americans see not just the mountain but also the one behind it and thinks, "now I have something to do." A French person sees the mountain and thinks, "now I have something to enjoy!"
Example Three: Never Ending Party
French parties seen to go on forever as if the French can't stand for the party to end, they are so involved in trying to enjoy themselves that they don't want the moment to stop. American parties end when the party has played itself out, because Americans have other things to do, other things to accomplish. The French on the other hand don't question a good time; they try to continue it for as long as possible. French parties never end early, but always late. After savoring every ounce of joy, then and only then do the French head for home.
The French see the mountain and want to stay on it as long as possible to keep enjoying it. Americans on the other hand want to go up and down the mountain to them be able to move to the next one.