Why is France the only country I'm apprehensive about landing in? It isn't as though I speak German or Italian, yet the thought of negotiating those places does not have the negative knee-jerk reaction that I'm feeling right now as our train pulls into Paris. As Americans, we're conditioned to believe that the French are a rude people, entirely unwilling to help, let alone communicate with us. Is it that we have some weird inferiority complex towards the French? It seems odd to me that we have to keep telling ourselves how much France needs us and how we've bailed them out on more than one occasion; but, when they don't cooporate with our wishes, we become childish and resort to ridiculous sandbox-level behavior (see: Freedom Fries). The common reasoning is that it is because they dislike Americans, but who doesn't right now? Everywhere I've been, the people have been very helpful and accepting and I hope that continues to be the case in during my stay here; I feel like a lot of that hospitality comes from making an effort to speak the local language and not be a self-righteous American like the story some of my hostelmates told me about the guy from Texas who chewed out the supermarket clerk for not offering him a bag in English. I will continue trying to do my part to show respect to the locals and hope that they do the same for me. And, if I end up accidentally ordering four bottles of wine and a bucket of snails for dinner and nobody corrects me, so be it.