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)
We just came back from Tennessee. And Tennessee :
– 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.
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.
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.
Interstate 91 toward New Haven:
” buy a car : 10 cookie boxes donated to our soldiers ”
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.
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.
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.
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.