Hard times in New York Town


Femme enceinte ayant décidé de se faire remarquer

How to look cool when you weigh over 80 kg

Last Friday, we were at the birthday party of a cool friend of ours, whose friends are really cool, and who was having a birthday in a cool bar. On Friday afternoon, I ran into my fat body in the mirror and realised that looking cool myself wasn’t going to be easy. However, I had forgotten that being pregnant in a bar is already almost subversive here. Moreover, I think I nailed the following steps:

– think “Whitney Houston” when you leave the taxi and enter the bar, even if you have previously spent the whole trip whining about how your stomach cramp and thank god it’s only stomach cramps and not haemorrhoids)

Poster at the entrance of the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville: Children are allowed but please tell them to shut up

Suddenly last summer

We just came back from Tennessee. And Tennessee :

– is quite the hipster state (Nashville and its coffees) … or maybe not (Memphis and most of its restaurants)

– is the home state and BB King, Elvis, Johnny Cash and the others, and at this point I realize that I am not going to fool anyone with my three vinyls: I still have a lot to learn about good music

– which makes it a good occasion to take my three babies/toddler to a country concert. The audience is mostly over 75 and wearing cowboy boots. At this point, you probably wonder why. But as Nayla would say: Yiiiiiha !!

– the highlight, though, has nothing to do with music, it was simply an “overweight? here is why” moment. We are trying to reheat Yann’s bottle in our Airbnb in Nashville. The microwave does have a “kid’s meals” option. I press it. Sub-menu: ‘for chicken nuggets press 1. For French fries press 2. For frozen sandwiches press 3. For hot dogs press 4″.  After a moment of nervous laughing, I decide that after all, formula probably tastes  like french fries the most.

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.

We are the champions my friend

For the first time in history, my OB hasn’t told me I’m too fat. If you are looking for me, I’ll be at the coffee shop around the corner, eating chocolate chip cookies to celebrate.

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).

For every box of kid's cereals, one dagger will be donated to a veteran

The dude of marketing

Interstate 91 toward New Haven:

” buy a car : 10 cookie boxes donated to our soldiers ”

… Really?

Livin la vida loca #2

It is exactly 5:02 PM.

I wake up from an unforeseen nap, lead my painful body toward the fridge, grab a bottle of whipped cream and joylessly gobble out of the bottle.

Living life to the fullest.

The way yoouuuuung lovers do

Matchmaking and feminism?

I found out about a whole new concept just in time for Valentine’s. Matchmakers. Well I knew there were some in Shanghai and probably other parts of the world, but the fact that they are big in NYC is a surprise. But then again, the whole concept of love here is a permanent surprise for me.

So in an article by Garance Doré, Amy Laurent, who is obviously considered “one of the most successful matchmakers in the States”, was uttering fun stupidities about love. I decided to dig in.

  • In the “blog” part of her website, I found the evidence that feminism still has a long way to go, since unfortunately, Pretty woman seems to still be the ultimate dream (unless apparently less charming): “I received some interesting news from one of my clients and his fabulous leggy blonde counterpart, whom I introduced him to (a mere  two months ago). They called to tell me that she was giving up her lease next month to move into his swanky Tribeca triplex.”.
  • Even better: the differences between the “services for men” and “services to women”. Whoever detects all differences will get a free hour of love coaching with me. Bachelors, beware.

The truth about being abroad – you are far

Sequel of the last post.

Being abroad means scuttling huge reasons to be alive.

You won’t see your parents age. You won’t see your grand-parents die. You won’t see your nephews grow; You will miss all the births, weddings, miscarriages, break-ups, vibrant beginnings of relationships and dreadful diseases. And most importantly, all that doesn’t have a name – life maybe?

You will watch your kids and parents communicate only via a poor Skype connection.

You will be torn apart. Always. You will hear yourself say absurd sentences like “I can’t go back for your wedding, I already came back for Granny’s funerals two months ago”.

You won’t be here when Sonia’s mother passes away, and the bare thought of it still makes me want to cry. Obviously, had I been in France, I would not have “really” helped Sonia, nothing could have. But at least I could have shared one, or two, or twenty bottles of wine with her, which would probably have helped me get the feeling that I could “be there for her”.

You will learn not to trust the classic “everything is fine”. Very often, not everything is fine, but people will want to spare you, because you are so far away so what’s the point. So you will double-check every piece of information to ascertain that nobody has hidden anything from you and that yes, everything is fine.

Goodbyes will often sound like farewells, especially when said to those who are getting dangerously old. You will wipe away your tears, knowing that you owe this sadness to your sole selfishness.

You will sometimes wonder whether the “experience” of living abroad is really worth all of this: giving up so much love, so many important moments, so many reasons to be alive.

You will never have the answer.

But you will watch on Facebook the skim of what you missed.

Foreigner committing seppuku because of the health system abroad

The truth about living abroad

When I woke up this morning, my inbox was joyfully clicking because I had just received an email from the “Union of the French abroad”. There was a sexy message inside: “DFAE, AEFE, CFE… news for the French living abroad”. I had also received an email from a good friend of mine, which, as often, contained a glimmering and not-so-true depiction of my life.

From what I can understand, this is what living abroad looks like:

1 be on holiday 24/7, and spend week-ends visiting remote areas and talk to unknown-and-sociologically-fascinating-tribes. Being therefore entitled to utter mesmerising clichés like “progress-leads-nowhere-without-brotherhood-of-mankind” (of course, it works better if you live in Venezuela than the US, but still)

2 have a bunch of fascinating friends. Being therefore entitled to make casual and irritating name-dropping (with my friend Sarah, who is a sculpter from Singapore, and my friend Ioulia, who runs a hedge fund, we were both going to yoga and …)

3 for parents: get bilingual children for free. Being therefore entitled to complain because your little girl mixes up spanish and russian and this is SO annoying.

4 have a huge house, a maid, a gardener. Not being entitled to any complaint, and in particular, avoid saying that you don’t miss Paris and its tiny apartments that remind you of hutches. Even friendship has its limits.

5 as a summary: always have Carrie’s eyes in Sex and the City’s opening credits.

Sometimes, that’s indeed how life can be (except for 4, honestly I haven’t seen any of that). Sometimes not. My post is too long already, therefore I will leave my arguments for future posts, but here is the list already (the psychorigid lawyer in me cannot help writing lists):

1. Being abroad makes you far.

2. Being abroad makes you lonely.

3. Being abroad makes you stupid.

4. Being abroad makes you whiny.