France (and Europe in general) has a lot of good ideas, most of which don't seem to reach home until after-the-fact. This is fine, but throughout my time I'm keeping a mental list of trends that my fellow readers can choose to adopt if they want to get ahead. Well, starting today, I am going to make an actual list here on the blog.
I'm not saying Europe is better than North America by any means, so don't feel like this is an insult to the States and the many cultures she holds. The things I'm observing are small day-to-day things that I see as having a positive effect on the environment and people's overall quality of life. Today, for example, it's grocery bags. France has been doing policy work to reduce the waste created by plastic bags at grocery stores. In the majority of markets, there are no plastic bags to be handed out. You bring your own, and if you forget, you buy a new reusable bag. Apparently this year the legislation is heating up, and there are proposals to completely ban all plastic bags at grocery stores and convenience stores--forcing consumers to remember their reusable, biodegradable bags from home. Here's an article about it http://www.connexionfrance.com/plastic-shopping-bags-ban-supermarkets-hypermarkets-recycling-2011-11500-view-article.html. I know loads of people back home that live "the European way" in a lot of aspects, this one in particular. But for the most part, people are still taking an innumerable amount of plastic bags every week (month, year, lifetime) when they frequent their local market of choice, namely because it is an option, and a convenient one at that. My second or third time getting groceries here, I forgot my bag. I didn't want to fork out any money to buy one, so I crammed my groceries into my purse, carried some under my arms, and even resorted to having Lilia hold a bushel of bananas! It was very difficult, irritating, and teaching. I haven't forgotten a bag since then. Lesson learned.
Tip From Across The Sea # 1 : buy (or make!) several reusable grocery bags, and find a way to help yourself remember them anytime you take a shopping excursion!
Today I woke up early (06:15) to the sound of rain. Paris sees a lot of rain in the spring, but most days start sunny and the rain shows up around 16h (4pm). Sometimes I like the rain, sometimes it drives me nuts (like when I am wearing my boots that soak up water), but I always love waking up to rain. So today was a treat :)
Every Thursday morning Lilia and I get groceries for the weekend. Our outing starts with us getting bundled up, especially when it's raining. We then make our way down the three flights of stairs into the entry way, which is a pretty exciting feat when you're a 21-month-old discovering your body's full-capacity. Lately I've been avoiding the pram because Lilia is very able to walk a good distance now, all the while curiously exploring the many intricacies of the city and it's sidewalks that most commuters would never notice.
With the rain today though, I loaded her into the pram, secured the grocery bag (yay!) and my purse around the handles, shielded her from the rain with a plastic covering, got out my umbrella and headed out. Our first stop is always Lidl. This German discount supermarket chain has most of the items we need; we buy all organic, natural and fresh foods, and at extremely low prices. It's phenomenal. As long as we go at a good time, it's not too crowded and cues aren't unbearable. I select whatever given vegetable or cheese I'm checking off the list, hand it to Lilia, and she sets it in our bag. It's a good system, though not entirely efficient. BUT, we have loads of fun, and she attracts a lot of "ooh la-la's" the whole time.
Next we head for La Vie Claire, the co-op nearest to Claire and Jono's apartment. Co-ops are really common here; there are 3 or 4 within a few blocks of my apartment alone! Here we get some grains and soy-milk, neither of which Lidl carries. Again, Lilia helps my carry the items around the store and tries her best to hand them to the cashier. She's such a helper!
I don't know how interesting grocery shopping is, but I realized I haven't done much writing involving practical living here in Paris. Happy Thursday everyone.