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Hard times in New York Town


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Seven dwarves dressed up

Halloween


So Halloween is really REALLY great. The outfits are beyond extraordinary. I don’t know how long it takes to sew them (or even think about them), but next year there is no way I am not in the parade.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I can ever be as creative as new-yorkers.

1/ I would never have thought about dressing up as mozzarella with all my friends (with filaments of cheese between us). Or if I had, I would never have thought to run a 5k-race dressed like this.

2/ I would never have thought about turning the constraints into a huge creative advantage. Like transform a stroller into Star War’s death star.

3/ best thing ever, animals dressed as other animals (I saw a dog that looked very convincing as a frog).

As nothing is perfect, the feminist in me still suffered: 95% of the little girls are dressed as princesses. Sub top 2: 1/ the unbearable Elsa from Frozen, seen at least 12 times, and Snow White (cost-effective since this is probably the same outfit mommy had, and granny etc since 1937).

Now I have to start sewing Charlotte’s outfit as a french frie cornet for next year (I really saw a burger family, baby as french fries, pregnant mummy as burger and daddy as waiter).

OB and his assistant (foreground). Patient taken away by other assistants (background)

My first date (with my OB)


Before my first appointment with my OBGYN, I have to answer thirty pages of paperwork. My favourite questions are cascading-questions-designed-to-make-you-trust-in-your-OB.  Do you have a durable power of attorney? Do you have a do not resuscitate document? Do you have an advanced directive or living will?
Then, finally, I meet her. I have to admit I am a bit intimidated (I even wear my pretty heels for reassurance).
At first she is into the classic “how wonderful you are pregnant” (she is very good at this, except for a relatively monotone voice. She has probably been saying those exact words 3 times a day for about 30 years, I understand).
I am about to get examined, with that ridiculous sheet to cover my naked body (she should not see, but she will touch, that’s even the whole point, so as a true French I don’t really understand what’s the big deal).
And all of a sudden, in the United States of America, land of politically correct and “it’s soooo amazzzzing to see youuuu””, she says “and now, let’s see from behind”. And bam. RECTAL EXAMINATION. I swear. I am in shock, I don’t know why this should be necessary, but what I first think about is my law degree: what she just did is just EXACTLY the French legal definition of a rape (penetration perpetrated in this case by surprise).
Should I sue her to cover for the delivery, or am I becoming too American?
Life beating up a foreigner (allegory)

Championship loser


Top three fails :

I lost 1,500 bucks in a pickpocket-but-more-subtle-trick, where you purchase a 30 dollar-phone that ends up costing 1,500 dollars (credit card trick #1).

I was stolen a (single) snow shoe in front of my door on a snowy day. The mystery is agathachristian (the drunken neighbour, the drunken neighbour’s toddler?? a one-legged man?? although that would probably be more davidlynchian)

Dentist: 2 800 dollars and counting. My bold dentist sent me to a scary specialised dentist who devitalized tooth number 18 for 2,800 dollars. He also offered to slay tooth number 17 for 2,600 dollars, and tooth number 19 for also 2,600 dollars (no buy two get one free on tooth apparently).

Shut up, I'm trying to make new friends

Fashion toolkit


After a careful observation of my new environment, this is my own personal list of “must haves to adjust to my new aggressive surrounding”.

  • A subscription to the New Yorker (although I still don’t know whether I am supposed to actually read it – is conspicuously carrying it around good enough?)
  • A pair of blue polarized Ray Bans
  • Two pairs of sweatpants (same here: am I supposed to go to the gym? Am I supposed to enrol in fitness class (please tell me that’s not true)? Or can I just show my chubby ass in the sweatpants?)
  • Two T-shirts with a cool message (or so I hope – to wear with the sweatpants): one says “fuck yeah Jacques Chirac”. The other is a souvenir from Burma that says “moustache brothers”.

Yep, I am 100% ready.

Expatriate's career (anonymous; possibly painted by an expatriate's wife at drawing class)

Lost days


I spend time at the park.

I immediately notice that the moms look suspiciously thrilled when they play with their kids.

I then meet a crew of European housewives. They hold either an MBA, or a fancy diploma from a good French university. They all are around 30. They all have two kids, and all of them named Josephine or Edouard. They all wear diamond rings as big as the Ritz. They all seem to hide a gigantic depression under weary smiles and super precise knowledge regarding tae kwon do classes for kids.
– Conclusion 1: I definitely should find a job like right now.

I also meet the first terrifying American women we Europeans are so afraid of. They all have goldy hair graciously fluttering in the wind. They all wear leggings and the same legs as my yoga teacher.  They all have pretty 9-month-old daughters who already walk. They all carry yoga mats behind their stroller that looks rather like a caterpillar truck (but a pink-ish version). And worse, they all look nice.
– Conclusion 2: I as well might finish my last European chocolates and binge-watch Watch Men for a while.

Sorry, you are wearing sneakers

the sweet cheat gone?


Let’s talk about scary Albertine.

To summarize for those who haven’t been pressured by the hype, Albertine is a French book store located right by the Met. So the very chic Antonin Baudry, who co-wrote one of the best French comics in the last few years, decided there HAD to be a French book store in NYC. I agree with Antonin. His network being however slightly more chic than mine, he had the power to have it financed by basically all the successful French firms. Of course, the result is magnificent, but it looks more like a Valentino shop than a regular book store. Which means you are too scared to touch the books, and most of all, your heart stops beating when you think your daughter could fart on the couch. And fuck, a book store is precisely the place where you should feel at ease and fart on the couch.

Bref, the magic of parisian entre-soi at its best.

Heure du décès, 14h04. Cause probable : hypothermie.

The spy who came from the cold


You knew it would be cold.

You had seen the pictures of cars covered with snow.

You had read the French newspapers, where every year lazy interns copy-paste the same article entitled “a cold wave hit Big Apple yesterday evening”.

You had listened to people coming back from New York in February and talking about the winter like survivors of a Wolfgang Petersen movie. 

You were always shaking your head like a stupid little prick when you heard it was unbearable.

You thought you could survive the winters.

You couldn’t.

You would find out that the semantics doesn’t lie. The cold does have something to do with being devoured. The cold does bite, sting, penetrate, burn and finally eat you alive.

You would find out that unlike new-yorkers, you did not belong to the superior race of those who can survive the winter. Rightly or wrongly, you would infer that americans are super-humans (or their parkas super-parkas).

For months, the sound of Nayla, almost fainting of cold in her stroller and whining “mom, I am cold” would break your heart.  (more…)

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