Note: This post is not about the brutal and senseless attacks that happened in Paris, Beirut, Mali, Egypt, etc. I began writing this while reflecting on courage and friendships on a visit to the US that began on 8th November before the dreaded Friday the 13th. Having spent the last two weeks in the US with coworkers, family and dear friends, I am still relieved to be going home tomorrow. Home, in Rueil-Malmaison, a stone’s throw from Paris, to my dear ones. All my love and hugs to Tim, Hana, Maya, Willow and Velvet. Many stories were told about you these past two weeks. Thinking and talking about you made it clear where home is now.
Inspiration comes from the most unexpected places.
I have been in the US these past weeks and have been luxuriating in terrestrial English-language broadcast radio directly to the console in my rental car. Old school. Last Sunday on the way back from dining with dear, dear friends, I heard an interview with Cindy Crawford, of Vogue, of Vanity Fair, Cross your Heart bras, of “the Mole”, from her film noir pose in a photo from our art collection, and of the mature age of 49. My age. Our age. Approaching 50, but not quite there, she wrote a book called “Becoming”. She’s witty, intelligent, thoughtful, obviously tall and beautiful (I don’t know it for a fact, I just know). I like the title of the book, “Becoming”. Clever double entendre.
Huff post piece about Cindy
The week before last, we piled in the Renault one morning and visited the Prefecture in Nanterre to retrieve our official Cartes de Sejour. This grants us legal permission to live in France for the next three years, a step on the way to becoming French. Soon we’ll be covered by CPAM, the primary health care fund in France and of course French social security and its programs. The process was relatively painless due to assistance from our relocation agents, but we did learn a joke about the French exercising a lot of taxes, said Vincent our agent, “let’s go exercise!”
I want to get back to Cindy Crawford, though. Cindy feels damn good about herself, almost always has. Only thing that ever she ever questioned was her famous mole (skin condition, not relative to the shrew). Vogue didn’t care about Cindy’s mole, didn’t even mention it. That was enough to make her forget it too. Wow, to feel that great, no matter what you look like, is pure gold. If Cindy could bottle that confidence as a product, damned straight I’d buy it. OK, so I never got to pose for Vanity Fair giving KD Lang a shave, but I certainly would have come running if asked. That’s another dream for another time.
It was fun to hear the Cindy interview on my first night in the US. With friends and colleagues all asking curious questions these past weeks, I myself felt like a celebrity on the interview circuit for a new book. Only I’m not very adept at it. I found my answers changing as I figured out how to talk about our experiences, sometimes I rambled, a lot. After several hours tonight connecting with a dear dear friend musing over everything from life, to work, art, architecture and what our chapter three might look like, I think I’ve got my responses down. Here’s an excerpt from the questions of the week, the confident version:
Q: How is your French now, are you fluent? A: No, but I talk on the phone on regular basis to telemarketers, our home security monitoring service agent, and delivery drivers who cannot find our home using their GPS.
Q: Do you take the Metro to work? A: No, but I do remember to face the river whenever I ride the T2 along the Seines.
Q: What’s it like working in France? A: I work at Microsoft, that’s what it’s like.
Q: Does everyone speak French at work? A: Only until my boss or I walk into the room, then they switch to English. Sometimes I tell them not to, except for when they tell jokes.
Q: How is Tim doing. A: Easy answer. He’s amazing. From his recent Facebook posts he also appears to have hung up his Sounders socks and instead displays French pride.
Q: Are the girls adjusting to school? A: They are doing really well! There’s a lot to adjust to. I’m really proud of them. (plus lots of other stuff moms say but would never write in a post on the internet).
Q: How do you pronounce the name of the town you live in? A: I’m good, but I’m not that good. I think it rhymes with squirrel.
Thanks everyone for your questions, and thanks Cindy for turning 50 and being awesome. With mutual respect, generosity, and heartfelt appreciation.