Hard times in New York Town

Tag: Why live abroad

A very diverse crowd (source: Reuters)

My life among the 1%

And while the rest of the world is collapsing, I am having the time of my life.

1- we saw Woody Allen’s Manhattan on a rooftop (actually, the terrace of the Yotel). Champagne, earphones, recliners. That feeling of flying transatlantic with PanAm in the sixties, except everybody was posting selfies on Facebook. After the film my husband told me sweetly “never had a better time with you darling”. I purred. Then I realised that had both been wearing earphones and none of us had said a word. Not that sure he likes it when I talk after all.

2- we saw Goran Bregovic at the Lincoln Center. Didn’t expect such a good concert when I walked in. Quite a bunch of self-righteous-pearl-necklaced-50ers. My neighbour had apparently eaten rotten onions. And the security was out of control. No camera, no dancing, no standing, no walking in the aisles. However, after thirty minutes and rightfully so, Goran had turned the Lincoln Center into a stadium. Everybody was dancing and sweating, the whole audience was screaming in serbian, including the self-righteous-pearl-necklaced-50ers. As for my neighbour, he turned out to be a Goran exegete. Unfortunately, there was nothing Goran could do about the onion smell.

French woman creating a new trend: the snail beanie

French women as fashion icons

By definition, a French woman is supposed to embody “French effortless chic”, as bad magazines say. It does work in New York, but also in Shanghai and I guess everywhere. How do you live up to the myth? Simple.

Option 1 : you are a French woman, too happy to enjoy the French chic cliché: 

– even if you were born on a farm in Montélimar, you are from Paris. All French women are from Paris.

– when complimented on a clothe, look surprised “what, this? Zara!”. Or pretend it comes from a small unknown shop (make up the name if you need to). The idea is to make anybody feel small because anything looks couture on you.

– don’t be silly, no limits. The uniform “red lipstick / little black dress” is long gone. You can ressuscitate everything. Be creative: everything looks good on you. Including Birkenstocks. including the little square of plastic bag old women put on their hair when it rains. Don’t worry, it’s probably hot in Red Hook anyway. Forget you were bullied because you looked like an 80 year old in 3rd grade. Anything is possible

Option 2 : you are a French woman, decided to go against stereotypes 

First, let me tell you that this is completely stupid: there are not that many good stereotypes. Even if you try very hard, you will suffer from the bad ones anyway (and be treated as arrogant – yet romantic -).

However, I can very generously help. Become pregnant. Do not go hesitate to put on weight. Lots of weight. Dress exactly the same everyday, half Gap, half Girls. It’s a precise science, but after a while, nobody will remember your French chic-ness. Regarding hair, it’s easier. The “effortless tousled hair” is too low-key: just don’t brush your hair. The idea is to look like a dog, or like Britney Spears in Womanizer (the absolute master of the dog-hair universe).

Option 3 : you are a French male

This simply doesn’t apply to you. Regarding males, the stereotype of elegance works solely on italians (grease+ tight suits, ouh yeah) or English (tweed, ouh yeah).

Una mujer con uno jaguar (explanation from Charlotte)

Multiculturalism and kids

There are 14 three year olds in Nayla’s class, and two teachers. The first teacher is greek, the second portoricain, and each kid has a different mother tongue. Russian, chinese, danish or hebrew, “you name it”, as they say. I tried to explain the difficulties of bilingualism to the teachers, but they told me they got everything under control.

There are also 14 kids in Charlotte’s classroom, from 1 to 2 years. They don’t really speak. They rather drool, just like zombies,in several languages. The teachers all speak spanish (and most of them don’t really speak English). So during the day, Charlotte is solely exposed to Spanish. It took us 3 months to figure this out. We were stupidely bragging about her future fluent English, and obviously, apart from “papa maman”, her first word was “agua” (amazing: it also works for  “jaguar”).

Now that we are perfectly sure our daughters will master geopolitics and contribute to the israeli-palestinian reconciliation from their playground, we can involve them in our racist jokes contest …

Cleopatra, thinking life is great now that she's out of Egypt and noone is asking her anything about the pharaonic primaries

Why live abroad

A/ I don’t have to pretend that I care about politics in France and THIS IS FREAKING GREAT.

OK, I do look at the headlines sometimes, but noone is going to stress me out with absurd questions like “have you read this article about – insert a subject noone cares about, including me and the person asking the question -” and worse, “what do you think”? THIS IS AWESOME.

B/ I don’t have to pretend that I care about politics in the US because:

– French people are easily fooled by my answers that always include a “hey, I know better, I LIVE there” subtext, even if what I say is a huge commonplace (and it usually is)

– Americans smartly assume that I don’t give a shit.