I recently had a friend do some research on Nantes. Wikipedia gave some pretty interesting statistics.

"I looked up Nantes' population. Wikipedia says that it was 500,000ish in 2007 and 800,000ish in 2008. Did everyone do it like rabbits in oh-seven or should I assume some mistake somewhere?"


Unclear. But actually the website says it was roughly 280,000 in 2007, and 820,000 in 2008. INSANE population growth in a year.


Whatever could have happened? The counting methods they use probably changed. That is, of course, the boring theory.


To change the topic, I’ve picked up some habits in my exactly four month stay in France.


Habit #1: I walk everywhere. I walk to school at least once a week (45 minutes if I stride like a giraffe and stop for no man, woman or child). There are daily strolls in the garden, to various bars and cafés with friends or just curious meanderings which have a bad habit of turning into frustrated goosechases.


Habit #2: Onomatopoeias galore. One of the things that is so much fun about learning a language in a native country is you pick up all the “filler” words and sounds. I shudder to think about the visitors of the States United picking up “um” “like” “yeah” and “errrr.”


My favorite french sounds. And my best idea as to what they mean.


“Tuk tuk tuk”- when counting something or doing a series of something, like putting dishes in the dishwasher.


“Shlack”- Use when you make a chopping gesture with your hand. Synonym with "Clack."


“Bah” or "Bein"- Doubles as “um” and “well”, an expression of confusion accompanied by the stereotypical expression of bewilderment, which is adorable. Can be inserted into just about any sentence.


Habit #3- So much bread. It wouldn’t be unheard of to read this headline in France. “After a week of bread absentia, half the country succumbs to starvation, the other half not far behind.”


Habit #4- Hot drinks in bowls. Coffee and hot chocolate in particular. To combat the lack of mugs in my life, and my klutzy self, I use mugs for just about everything else. OJ is better in mugs.


I came to France expecting to find most things extraordinarily different and the people quite alien. It's been a pleasant and rather weird experience (to use the french phrase "déjà vu") to see that despite our ocean between us, we aren't so different after all. The importance of family is echoed in Minnesota, as is the growing necessity of public transportation (hello bike paths!).


I will miss Nantes.