2.13.2011

there's no crying in paris

apparently picasso was unaware of the no-cry rule: la femme qui pleure, was painted during the master's stint in the city of light.


tom hanks said, "there's no crying in baseball." but he didn't say anything about an outdoor flower market, which is where i was just reduced to tears in front of bunches of roses, tulips, and snickering parisian shop girls.

of course, they had no idea my emotions had little to do with being scolded in french for "allowing" my dog to pee on a bucket of tulips. it was simply the breaking point of many seemingly insignificant  setbacks, the most recent of which was fretting over my husband's leaving at 4 am today to fly to barcelona by way of amsterdam, subsequently getting lost while driving to his hotel, then calling me from god knows where to act as his GPS, and in one final insult, the poor guy having his rental car transmission go kaput in the middle of nowhere. this, on the heels of being scolded by and harrumphed at by a nasty french taxi driver for committing the crime of reaching into my suitcase in the way back of his vehicle. this on the heels of being chided by a cashier for not knowing the precise way to queue up for a magazine purchase. and i've already told you about my attack on the serge lutens counter at le bon marche. and so it goes.

please understand. i intend no gay-paree bashing. au contraire. i make every attempt to ply my high-school french; to be polite and unobtrusive; to fit in as best i can. and aside from these minor annoyances, we've been treated with respect and charm, especially by our one and only French (and European, for that matter) friend, Jean-Louis, who has been an absolute delight. it is my fervent desire to meet many more like him.

i'm chalking this up to gaining experience, empathy, and perspective in a way i never could at home. it's not easy being green. it's even harder being verte. but i'll keep trying. and i'm sure i'll keep learning.

in the meantime, i'll stop and smell the roses, not pee on them. and while i'm at it, i'll follow a fellow expat's 3 P's of getting by in a foreign country: patience, perserverance, personality. and to those, i will add one more: pinot grigio!

à votre santé!


14 comments:

Kelly said...

Oh dear. Keep perservering. If I can recommend a book, s'il vous plait - "Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong"
It's kind of an ethnographic study. It might help you understand them and give you a few pointers along the way.

Tracy said...

Awww. Did you ever read the David Lebovitz book "Living the Sweet Life in Paris?" He writes about adjusting to life in Paris. You're not alone in being at the receiving end of scorn from the Parisians. How long will you be in France?

Faye said...

You'll get the hang of things, I know you will! And until then I'm sending lots of virtual hugs. The adjustment to a new country is hard--the final experience is SO worth it!

Faye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
knitlit kate said...

thanks for the support, mes amies! kelly & tracy...i'm so getting those books. i read adam gopnik's "from paris to the moon," which is also a delightfully insightful book.

also on my nightstand: "me talk pretty one day" and "a moveable feast." and of course, plenty of french vogue ;) when words fail, i'll turn to fashion...

Kate said...

With suffering comes a great blogpost. Hang in there.

Michelle said...

MACK CAN PEA ON MY FLOWERS ANYTIME ;) HANG IN THERE

Anonymous said...

I once spent some time in Paris and found some time with an English speaking Unitarian group on Sundays a welcome respite from the constant striving to fit in... Hope it feels better soon.

Karen said...

Been there, suffered some of that. Most people are lovely, whatever their nationality but there are definitely some Parisians who have an interesting attitude to international relations. As a Brit ( I hesitate to say european, as we don't really play nicely with the others) I found being nauseatingly nice stopped the chastisement in it's tracks. Wishing you luck xx

WendyB said...

I have days like that here at home in NYC! Hang in there.

Mishi said...

Ouch - Mes condoleances Kate. Good excuse for Pinot. BTW, Dorie G. and David L. are friends! He's awesome.

Loved the Picasso!

Ida said...

Hi there :) I read your post about the fake-a-gamo knitting project and I'd be delighted if you could send the latest pattern to me. I know I'm kinda late, but I hope you've still got the pattern. I'm doing it for crafts class in school ^^
Also, I wonder whether there were any mistakes in the beta-pattern? I tried it over and over again, but I just couldn't figure it out. Everything went wrong from row 11....
Anyways, love your blog, it's awesome!

My e-mail:
mreow@live.se

knitlit kate said...

thanks again for the virtual hugs.

mish & michelle: let's skype one of these knit nites!

knitlit kate said...

p.s. mish: who is david L? checked out DG's blog...she is awesome and so much great info there. xx

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