Be careful of what you wish…you might get it!

A long time ago in a sunny, sunny place, lived a girl who was told that Paris was not only the city of love, but the city of dreams. In time  she saw her dearest dream come through: to come and live among the French. But as the title of this post hints, she didn’t really know what she thought she wanted. Our heroine, a full grown-up  woman, has realized by now that living and “fitting”among the French is most of the time not easy, that Paris is still far away and that French sense of humour is just not funny to her! She cannot move away, she dreams of another place where people are friendlier, food is not as delicate and she does understand and cares for the sense of humour and the cultural roots of these people. I sincerely hope this time she really knows what she is wishing  for and that she gets her wish granted!

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To be satisfied or not to be satisfied (with your job)… is that the real dilema?

Having recently finished a job contract, I am finding difficult to get back in the saddle in order to find a job. The problem is that the job offers I am applying for do not interest me much and the jobs that do interest me have NO vacancies, or they don’t even exists in my corner of the world. Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet: “To be or not to be, that is the question…” I would put it more blandly: To eat (and be frustrated by a job you don’t like) or not to eat (while still not being able to do what you are passionate about and THEN get paid for doing it?)… that is the question! If I phrase it like that, it is obvious to me that eating (and surviving by making ends meet) would be the right answer. So why then I cannot be happy with it? I wonder how our forefathers survived and were happy  even though their lives where much more difficult that ours? People that worked way over the 35 hours that are the norm here in France, where working sundays is stil taboo…. Is there a complaint gene or unsatisfaction gene that we have developed in the last century? Can one lead a fulfilling life while being stuck in a minimum wage-not-a-job-for-you kind of thing? And if so, how do you go about it? If any one has ANY suggestions on how to go about it, please do share the info. Thanks!

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Why does it all seems useless?

Exactly one week ago, I was writing a post about the New Year wich was just one day old, full of promise, all shiny and hopeful. Eight days later, it seems that the year has started several months ago, and all the troubles and challenges that faced us in 2010 have raised their ugly heads. Be it poor health, unemployment, family problems, crisis in the couple, difficulty to meet payments or even the weather, it all seemed feasible and doable only a week ago. Therefore, if my silly reasoning is correct, the only thing that has changed in one week is my perspective on things and NOT the actual challenges and difficulties in themselves But what to do?, how to react to this misery that has settled in? How about positive thinking? exercise? discussing things over with a friend over a cup of tea? perhaps writing out a list of my accomplishments over the last 12 months? I really do not have an answer, but I do know that it is up to me, to turn things around: First in my head, and then in the outside world.

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New Year: a new beginning

Happy New Year 2011!!!! The year 2010 has final ended. It started full of promise 366 days ago, and it brought us plenty of good moments, plenty of challanges and enough growth oportunities to face those challanges. Having said that, I am happy to be here at the beginning of a shiny brand new year. I am full of hope, full of dreams and ready to face the challanges life will through at me. The question is: why are we so sure that things will go our way at the begining of the year, while after a couple of weeks into the new year we start feeling as if we are swimming against the current? I think hope, faith in our dreams, and a positive attitude are part of human nature, but it is up to us to keep them going for more than a few days. Best wishes for a wonderful year filled with health, joy and prosperity!!!!

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Highbrow vs lowbrow cinema…which one will you choose?

Yesterday I went to the cinema. I saw two Italian movies, the first one is called Mine Vaganti/Le Premier Qui l’a Dit (which would translate in English as: The first one who said it). This is a charming yet uneven comedy/drama which tells the story of of Tomasso a handsome wanna-be writer that decides to finally come out of the closet in front of his family at a business dinner. The problem arises when his older brother, Antonio decides to beat him to it, creating all sorts of situations (as the younger brother cannot longer tell the truth,  since his father has suffered a heart-attack due to the revelations of the older brother). All sorts of funny and touching moments occur, but in the end as with any comedy, it does close on a possitive note. There is a second subplot concerning the matriach of the clan which runs parallel to the main story and which serves as a pair of bookends in order to frame the main story. The second movie is called I AM LOVE (Io Sonno L’Amore) and stars Tilda Swanson (fromVirginia Woolf’s Orlando fame). She is a middle aged russian bride, now turned into a moral pillar of her upper-class family. She is cool and reserved. Her husband is cold and reserved… The older son is cold and ambitious, the middle son is handsome and passionate about cooking, and the younger child is a daughter: pretty, insecure and artistic. But underneath the cold exterior, this iron-curtain matron is really a fierce spirit who is ready to throw-out her achievements within the Milanese society and his status within that society, when she falls in love with his son’s future partner in a restaurant. We never really undertand what creates the attraction between the young cook and the cold woman, but sparks fly… all hell breaks loose and it ends in a tragedy of Shakesperean proportions. The photography is priceless, the music is exquisite and the story is quite original. From the first scene to the last one, there is an underlying tension that leads you to believe that you are about to witness a drama, a drama that will unfold before your eyes. And yet, to me the movie ends on a possitive note as there is a way for this women to scape and (we are led to believe) to begin a new life. Both films are Italian, both show upper class families that deal in their own way with problems and with feelings, and yet, one film is more enjoyable, easier to follow, a crowd pleaser. The funny thing is that the second movie is more beautiful, more delicate and more complex in the development of the story and its characters. The big question that is yet to be answered is: Which one did I like best? Which one would I recommend? The first answer would be something like this: I liked the easy going comedy better, but then the more complex film touched me more, and left me thinking about it. The second answer would be: BOTH! Go laugh, be touched and let yourself be inmersed in the problems of these people! I bet that you will come out from the theater with a lighter heart as you don’t share any of the worries from these charaters.Add Video

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T.G.I.F.

Do you know the meaning of follie?It means somehing crazy in plain French, something crazy… crazy like a week spent in a temp job with no future, no prospects and a dragon-lady for a boss. Need I say more? Well, no. I guess not… If we add to this constant stress, all the extra activities that I am either trying, or have signed up for… well it is only natural that I am now coming down with a cold, the first one in more than one year… Stress goes up, defenses go down and your body finds itself in the middle of a mild battle where we know already who the looser will be. This is perhaps too serious a way to introduce today’s topic: Again this elussive BONHEUR that sometimes I manage to capture, to experience to let into my life… Fridays I only work half aday… this means that when I finish I can go to the movies, go grocery shopping or take a walk among the vineyards that surround the town I live in. But today, instead of all that, I parked the car in a rest area near to where I work and went for a stroll right then and there. There is a water channel that runs along several towns. This channel was dug out over three hundred years ago in order to irrigate the crops that grew in the region. These days its usage is more decorative than anything else, but it helps the enviroment as a whole flora and faune have developed around it. The day was overcast, but warm. There was a soft breeze and you could hear sometimes a frog or two singning their song. When I started the stroll, I was still in work mood, which meant that I was not able to relax, to the leave the dread and pressures behind and to switch to a more agreeable state of mind. But something happened while I strolled: I started to really look at the leaves, the insects the reflections of the trees on the water. I sat down on a little bridge and just looked at the sky, the clouds chassing each other… suddenly I saw a bunny rabbit who was staring at me from his post near the bridge. I didn’t move. He didn’t move…. I moved, made a little noise and the rabbit ran  away. It was then that I enjoyed an Aha! moment (as Oprah would say)… and I realized that it is indeed when one is in contact with Nature that one is able to reconnect with one’s soul and therefore become one with the world. And that brings peace to the body, the soul, the spirit.

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A brave new world

In my previous post, I was discussing La Rentree here in France and how all the activities start again.

Well… Monday I went to a gym class that included classic moves such as: sit-ups, abdos, cardio, streching,  Tomorrow I will try a course of Pilates, which is well known for improving your posture and your breathing… (not a bad thing when one starts to to look like a little darf with a big hunchback that is starting to develop after spending endless hours leaning over the computer screen. Friday I will try a course of Scottish Dancing (needless to say that I love keeping busy, don’t I?) However, tonight’s title refers… yes you guessed it: It’s a line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. And describes perfectly what I felt tonight. Yes! ce soir, I went to my first theater course in France and I loved it!!!! It felt confortable. It felt liberating. It felt RIGHT! We did some breathing and vocalizing exercises and then we went directly into the improv: I waited for a train and was quite mad when it was late… I shared a park bench with one homeless lady (I was the ultra-tired lady), then I got myself fired over the fact that I was an alcoholic nurse!!! Really! It was ALOT of fun and eventhough I was deadly tired when I left my work today, but I felt much more invigorated on my way back home.  Now I am starting to fall asleep  over my keyboard, so I better sign off.

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