Comment ça va?

This has been my first official week studying in Paris and already I have learned a lot of information. The most interesting bit that I have learned this week is concerning the French language and . . . digestion? Sounds strange, but just let me explain. The phrase “comment ça va? is said all day long in conversation or even in passing. Nowadays its said to ask how someone is doing. Typically one will respond by simply saying “ça va,” which will roughly translate to “It goes.”

The history behind the phrase is where it gets dirty. Back in the Renaissance era, apparently digestion and knowing how ones actual bowel movements were the highlight of all conversations. This is where the phrase comes from. It was originally used to inquire about these movements and if they were feeling alright. If ones digestion was well, they meant they were healthy and content as could be. I guess you don’t have to save these topics for the doctors office.

Other than inspiring new topics of conversation, Paris also inspires creativity in movement and the arts. It is clear to see the love of the arts not just in the availability of it, but also in the way audiences support it. Theatre etiquette is real here. When a performance finishes and they clap, they really clap. You can feel the enthusiasm for the performers, its not just a “one and done” kind of thing. They ask for encore bows and for more from the performers. It’s very refreshing to see that people here are involved in the arts and all mediums of them. I hope to see some of this energy move over to the United States.

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