(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Friday, January 21, 2011


so nothing has changed. thought maybe some of the ravenous consumption monster might have been tamed a bit, but not so much it seems.

on the plane, we were a captive audience pummeled with an onslaught of offers to do what 'mericans do best. buy. shop. consume. collect. the headsets were no protection from the PA announcments encouraging people to grab that duty free magazine and shop. how easy it would be because they take credit cards. and please, consider getting another one. the handy dandy shiny United Airlines in partnership with Chase bank card where you can buy buy buy and earn miles too! Why, hold on because the hostesses will be passing out applications in just a moment. (I kid you not.)

later, a jingle came on the television screen and we were treated to a singing version of how wonderful the Sky Mall is and how we can use that United Airlines in partnership with Chase bankcard to choose from over 2,000 items in the SkyMall Magazine!! yay!!

oh and if you want food or drinks on the plane now, be advised ... they no longer accept cash only Credit Cards!!

When I bought my ticket online I had to page through 3 separate upsells from United ... more legroom, earn extra miles by paying, pay your way to the front of the check in line, and on and on and on!!

when I boarded the 2nd flight, first class was full of suits. it was one of the big 1st class sections (Dulles to SFO) and there was one lone woman. suited. All had laptops whirring and gabbed nonstop into their wireless mikes while thumb-flicking their touchscreen phones. barking orders and exchanging office gossip. who knows how many secrets could be picked up just by loitering there?

making my way to cattle class, I quit counting after about the 5th row because it seemed futile. What was I counting? why touchscreen phones of course. why was it futile? because EVERY SINGLE PASSENGER had one. and was busily doing something on it. head tucked downward eyeing the tiny screens. EVERY SINGLE ONE!

somehow, looking at all of this made me sad. I mean, it used to be me. and the fact that it isn't any more makes me happy. but it is sad to think of so many people ... driven to consume because it is the nature of the society they live in. Everyone is on the merry-go-round so it must be the place to be... when they wake up because they are pushed off at the age of 60 or so ... what will they really have? a lifetime of experiences in the office and the mall? a desk drawer rattling with a collection of outdated cellphones and other gadgets that they spent hours working to pay off the debt for?

I knew people (me included) who bragged about their airport club membership levels (premier, premier executive, million mile club) ... and strove to get to the next level. for what? a nicer drink, a bigger seat? never thinking about the true cost of that badge of honor...the hours logged for meaningless miles to even more meaningless meetings. nights in stale hotels. poor health from restaurant food and minimal activity...or better yet, hours on a stair machine heading nowhere fast.

well. in spite of the crisis. unemployment. etc etc. my little slice revealed nothing remarkably different than witnessed before. the same onslaught of ads and flashing light posters and endless airport boutiques hawking all the latest. kind of turned my stomach to see the kiosk boasting "green products, products to make your life better" but as I grew closer it was just an assortment of clothes and chatchkes and more stuff ... stuff that will end up in a landfill some day and really stuff that was dubiously green (in my opinion). le sigh.

want to hear something ironic? the movie on the flight was Wall Street 2.

it was, however, quite lovely to see and hug my daughter after I landed.

ciao, more to come ...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

california here I come ...

well, I am off to California for a bit. I leave tomorrow morning and will be stateside by Thursday night.

I have a variety of tasks to address there including some preparation and research for this summer's projects. I will be starting in the bay area and hope to get up to Oregon while there.

Like last time, it will be much less of a vacation than a working visit ... I go with high hopes to accomplish many things on my list and return ready to attack my third business season in France.

I will have internet access throughout the trip and will be posting updates of my escapades.

Haven't yet left and already missing all of my favorite french things ... le sigh ..

à bientôt!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


miam miam, how did I forget to have raclette for the three years I have lived here? I had completely lost track of how deliciously simple it can be ... I had it once on vacation here in Paris, wow seems ages ago.

he did it right ... big platter of charcuterie. tiny potatoes, buttery and warmly cooked to perfection. a salad as only a frenchman can toss. loads of tiny cornichons. and a pile of cheese, waiting to be melted and slathered over everything!!!

oh and of course a little red. and a little rosé. dessert of dried figs.

after, nearly comatose. until out came the beranic (sp?) tabletop bowling game.

oh and of course music. lots of music.

always a party with jean yves. lots of cheesy goodness .. heehee! :P

Thursday, January 6, 2011

um .... not!

just another small chuckle from ma belle France ... observed while driving through a village in the North of France. Quite large poster in a window proclaiming " S U B T I L" ... mais au contraire ! of course the models are anything but!

j'adore ma nouvelle pays!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1.1.11 !!

quelle bonne date ! un vrai bon présage pour la nouvelle année...il me semble comme un bon présage, une date qui signifié tous les premiers et qui m'inspire à essayer beaucoup de choses sur ma liste des idées pour un vie très vivant.

je voudrais vous montrer deux sites très cool, sur des personnes qui ont decidés de suivre leurs rêves.

Le premier, un couple qui ont acheté un catamaran et font un voyage dans le Pacifique avec leurs deux petits enfants!!! CLIQUE ICI POUR REGARDER LEURS BLOGUE "Sauvageon dans le Pacifique".

et le deuxième ... un autre jeune couple qui. pour les dernières deux années. ont voyager à travers le monde avec le plus petit argent imaginable! ils ont visité 15 pays jusqu'à maintenant. Je pense qu'il y en aura beaucoup plus dans l'avenir! CLIQUE ICI POUR REGARDER LEUR BLOGUE "Elierre les pieds sur Terre".

prends un café et prépare toi à devenir inspiré!!!

(for my english speaking readers, since I realize I do not have an english translator presently)

I will be trying again, from time to time, to write some posts in French. seemed fitting to do so today, on the first day of the new year.

basically I have written that I really like today's date ... 1.1.11 and for me it is an omen of good things to come. it makes me think of firsts and my ongoing list of ideas of things I want to experience yet in life. todayès date inspires me to revisit that list and choose some things that make life more than just existence ... more exciting and real.

I have shared links to 2 sites of people who are doing just that ... first a couple who bought a catamaran and are taking a year to sail in the Pacific with their 2 small children ...

the 2nd is by a young couple, also traveling a different road ... literally. they have visited 15 countries ... mostly on bicycles and with change in their pockets. when the change runs out, they stop and find work to refuel their tank, so to speak.

the links are up there and, although the blogs are in french, the pictures alone make them worth a visit.µ

so take a look and get inspired!!!! no regrets, right?