(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


the season has officially ended. the mairie has decreed the emptying of the flowerpots. now we have dirt on display. I think maybe there will be some grasses placed here for winter, but the lush showy display of riotous blooms is ended.

with this comes the cold. it arrived with a force. one day we were still in shorts ... guests revelling in their luck for such glorious weather ... and the next, gusts of cold wind descending. Before the masses arrived, I had rushed about with the help of JY filling cracks and holes with expandable foam. Curtains were hung to further block drafts. A new radiator installed in the kitchen / dining room.

but unless I want to devour tanks full of heating oil, I still keep it somewhat chilly, donning sweater and UGG boots.

Meanwhile, heard about town and beyond, are the varying reports on our grêve (strike).

It may turn out to be quite something ... I'm told this is no ordinary strike but a general strike and, as such, any and all can participate and the length is unlimited. each day, 'les syndicats' (semi-equivalent to unions) vote as to whether to strike again. now, it goes beyond metro, train, plane. the refineries. the truck drivers. the teachers. all joining in. The last serious general strike such as this was in the late 90s. Lasted over a month. brought the country to its knees. No transport. oil shortages. no postal services. rolling electricity outages, daily. and more!

it is a sight to behold ... a populace wielding their power. it is also interesting to hear and read the moaning that is rampant, mostly from the non-french ... tut-tutting regarding the imposition created. regarding how lazy are the french. what is the big deal of 2 more years until retirement. goodness, don't all the other countries have at least that age? the snipes at the french at every turn, particularly by the english ... really something. I've read that most decent people WANT to work. why on earth would they want to retire so young, what on earth will they do for 15 years or more - rest on the dole?

I could go on but I'm sure you've likely read the same, either on news or your FB groups or ... maybe even added a few of your own retorts.

my take is ... surely I must be french. now more than ever it is confirmed I am anti-capitalist. I wonder if these comments are truly opinions ... or ignorance ... or jealousy? I will say if they are heartfelt, I'm at a loss as to why these expat commenters remain in France given their opinion of the french is so poor.

Could it be that working until one is in their 60s or beyond is not the most appealing option? or, for that matter, leading a life that centers around profit, productivity, output, long hours and shortened periods of vacation is folly?

what if one could retire at an age where years remained, possibly with some semblance of youth and good health. what if one could enjoy a work-week that had fewer hours and longer breaks, more time for family, friends and pursuits beyond the daily quotidien. perhaps the work year could be interspersed with 3 or 4 vacation breaks ... or one long and luscious period of repose, as one chose. possibly the price might be fewer new cars, clothes, appliances and new, fresh off the chinese production line, furniture? why vilify a country and people who embrace the values of their constitution ... who willingly accept the responsibility of reminding those who govern who put them there and who can take them out? because a country chooses another option ... one that supports its citizenry and uses the tax and other resources its PEOPLE give them in the manner the citizens dictate ... that makes them lazy? stupid? unproductive?

I have heard and read so much from individuals who lap up the propagandized pap presented them regarding their country's budget, financials, and status it is ridiculous. here in France, just as in America, billions were passed on to banks and corporations to bail them out. those billions didn't just magically materialize, it is the money of the citizens that funds the government. if now, citizens are demanding their fair share, the right to guard the social structure as they see fit ... good for them.

I read from afar the woes of the U.S. Masses of foreclosures, unemployed, small businesses going under, no movement on health care, poverty gap widening. The budget allocation for military, for waste is enormous. Yet what are the citizens really doing about it?

In Britain, the social net springs more holes daily. The health care system provides less and less care. Students will soon be ante-ing up for their schooling. The same housing and credit woes emerge, with the corporations lining their pockets as deeply as those in America.

And yet the expatriate sheep bleat on, 'damn lazy frogs, don't want to work' ' look at'em disrupting the work week, making it difficult for me to fill my tank ' ...

I fail to understand why, at least in America, my countrymen do not have the courage or resolve to take back their government. to take to the streets and not for an event ... but for a sustained campaign that helps right the ship a little.

vive la France! there's many who should consider stealing a page from their playbook. hopefully, someday 'our' playbook

Sunday, October 3, 2010


je suis la ... :P

well, it has been a busy summer and now visitor season. My daughter was here for 2 weeks and then her boyfriend arrived ... they've just set off for a last week in Paris before returning to the states. My good friends Kathleen and David are here now for a couple of weeks. In the midst of visitors, I have been simultaneously opening the store, doing new furniture pieces, falling in love, working the vide grenier in Brantôme, working on plans to expand the business, making HUGE progress on my house with the help of friends and family.

So for the past several weeks (probably more like most of summer), blogging has not been on the top of the list. But I'm alive, thriving and contemplating what my next move should be related to writing.

I miss coming, chatting, hearing from you all, and blathering on about my petite aventures. I'll keep you posted!! xx