More about life and school in Megeve.

Life here is more formal, including school. For example, I have to call my teachers “madame” or “monsieur.” We don’t even include their last names when we address them, which is way different from back home, where I have occasionally called some teachers by their first names.

Greetings are different here as well. In America, I greet my friends with “Hey, what’s up?” or “Hey…and their name.” In France and in Europe, making contact is a much bigger deal. Here, we give two kisses, one on each cheek to every girl when I say “hi” to them at the start of the day and also again when I say “goodbye” for the last time. I sometimes kiss adults too – but only if I want to be informal –  and that is not how I greet my teachers or family.

With the boys, I shake all their hands at the start and end of the day. I shake all the men’s hands too. Same with women who you meet if you want to be polite. If you have a really good friend who is a guy, you can kiss them too when you meet, but I don’t do that. Also – and this is the same in England – everyone asks “Are you ok” all the time. In French, the phrase is “Ca va?” When you greet someone, sometimes instead of saying “hi,” you just ask if they are ok. You ask that even if you think the person is ok. It is just a type of greeting. So if you go to France and you keep wondering, “Do I look ok?” “Why is everyone asking me that?”, “ca va” is just another way of saying “hi.” I use it far more than any expression I ever used back home in Telluride.

The last major noticeable thing is the clothes.

All of my French friends wear clothes very similar to the clothes we wear America. A lot of garments are in fact American, lots of t-shirts and plaid shorts and hoodies. There is not many nylon shorts, like for sports, but other than that, not all that much difference in what we put on our bodies. I see Abercrombie shirts, DC apparel, Hollister, New Era, Quicksilver, and Billabong, which is Australian. Most of the clothes have English words on them, not French. I have even seen shirts here that  many of my friends in Telluride wear. There are some differences though.

In Megeve, they do not wear nearly as many hats or sunglasses as in America, where is it common to see people wearing hat and sunglasses even indoors. In school, I thought I was not allowed to wear sunglasses because even on the sunniest days, no one wears them. I finally decided that it was too sunny for my eyes, so brought my glasses to school one day. I would have taken them off if I were told to do so, but everyone commented and wanted to try them on. I was a celebrity –  but I did not start any trends. I am now still the only person who wears sunglasses outside for the hour-long lunch period. But, French people do wear a lot of watches. About a quarter of my school friends here wear watches, while none of my friend in Telluride do. Back home, we used our cell phones to get the time. Here, watches are fashion statements.


Editor’s Note: Last January, Telluride Inside… and Out visited Megeve, located in the Haute-Savoie department, Rhone-Alpes region, southeastern France. The town started its development as a ski resort in the 1910s, when the Rothschild family began spending winter vacations in the region after becoming oh so over  the Swiss resort of St Moritz. Modern-day Megeve is considered among the most beautiful upmarket ski resorts in France, indeed, in the world. And with good reason. Even more than Telluride, Megeve offers extensive downhill options for all levels of skiers and boarders: 111 lifts, 219 slopes, totaling 445 km. The region has no huge hotels, and for the most part, there are no mass market boils on its face. (However – eegads –  when we were there, we spied a MacDonald’s at one end of town.) The core of Megeve is a charming medieval village with narrow cobbled streets, but the wake up call signaling you are in the here and now are the numerous high-end designer boutiques flashing brand names like Prada and Hermes. Over the years, Telski, Town of Telluride and Mountain Village honchos have talked about the possibility of an alliance with Megeve in the form of a “sister city” relationship. So far, no dice. But an ambassador went to Megeve anyway,  thanks to two ski coaches, local Caleb Martin and his friend, Richard Gay (in Megeve). The pair decided an exchange would be a great idea, so  Zach Nunn is now staying with Clement Cabrol’s family – Alain, Cathy, Camille,  and Nicholas –  before Clement travels to town to ski moguls with the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club. Clement will be staying with the (remaining) Nunns: Randall, Debra, and Skyler. Zach plans to spend a year in Megeve and is posting regularly.

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