Monday, July 5, 2010

Preaching to the choir!

During the weekend we were visited by some of Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman's girlfriends from way back in the day as they came to do some babywatching and general socializing (rudely interrupting me and Baby Sunshine as we were watching some live cage fighting on the Wow Wow channel).

Considering the company, I did put away my mucus towel for a bit but kept myself a bit away from the action as I still was suffering a bit from the fever, but did spend at least a little time with the group. I know them since earlier but can't really say that I'm close to any of them, so I do my best to be reasonably polite and nice. One of her friends (Japanese) currently lives in France, with a French husband, and tried really hard to keep my feelings about that country in check and neutrally asked how she found life in France. I hardly expected her to say that things were wonderful and that she loved the country, but the hate she felt for it almost rivaled that of my own.

Basically she launched into a tirade about how the country is rotten to the core, how the people are similarly rotten, rude and unpleasant to deal with and that the "hospitality" of that country is non-existent. And this is from a lady who have spent considerable time in other Latin European countries such as Italy, so she foolishly thought that she would manage fine in France. It also seemed like her French husband also shared the same feelings about his motherland. So their plan seemed to be to, as quickly as possible pack their belongings and move back to Japan at the first opportunity.

What can I say? She was preaching to the choir!


Jen B said...

Hmmm, I'm a bit homesick actually today so good food for thought.

I lived in the South of France for 16 years, my husband is French, as is my education, my cultural references. I'm on the fence. Not out of mindless patriotism or sense of loyalty, but out of a mindset that feels that a person who says that the population of a country is "rotten to the core" is probably not displaying the kind of intelligence needed to get along.
We've all got things we could improve on frankly.

16 years is a long time and I've been through everything from being blamed for the 100 year war and "invading the countryside", even needing the police to come and talk to my parents about my safety at school, to making friends for life.

So here is where I agree: the economy is awful, public spending is out of control, the society truly is divided, and their outlook on the world is heavily influenced by the education we received by the boomers, who in France were usually communists in their youth. I got very tired of the media's slant on current affairs; always missing the point. And the job market is awful so I won't be going back for a while. France's public sector is a money-guzzling mammoth that stifles anyone who wants to try and get on (small business in France? What a joke...). Before leaving I was seriously thinking that France would have a civil war in the next 20 years...

Would I choose to live there? NO. Not until some major changes happen. However most people in France can't choose to swan around the globe and leave; calling those people who are stuck there "rotten" is a crap attitude. I'm lucky I can move around and take what suits me.

Living abroad = frustration, miscommunication, being judged, being left-out to some extent, not knowing what people really think. It's life.

At least when you've made the effort to move there, no-one asks you to teach them English when you want to practice French. A somewhat cooler, less "gain-hungry" approach to life that I miss quite frankly...

Jen B said...

Oh my goooood! Sorry about the size of that comment. ugh.

RMilner said...

Legally anyone who is a citizen of France can leave and live in any other European Union country -- including Sweden!

But of course they may not speak good enough English to move to Sweden.

aimlesswanderer said...

I hope you didn't cough anywhere near the visitors, and I hope you weren't seen without a gas mask, or else they might catch some strange gaijin disease.

And if you had wanted to scare them off permanently you should have waved that snot drenched towel their way. Though you may have been charged with assault by gaijin germs.

Jen B said...

RMilner: true, they can move to any EU country. I always thought that the reasons people move or not were a bit more complicated but I could be wrong.

Ok, off to my language exchange!

Martin said...

Jen B seems to almost have passed the "Denial" stage and the very long comment seems to be the transition to the "Anger" stage.

Then there is "Bargaining" (with god), "Depression" (With anger and sadness) and finally "Acceptance" that France really sucks more than any country.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Hmmm... this is odd... Did everyone delete their comments (now that I was just about to reply) or did blogger just lose them somewhere?

Well... I didn't delete any comments at least but now Martin's pretty funny comment is completely out of context... I should write a letter and complain somewhere!

Mr. Salaryman said...

Ok, now I can see the comments again (must've been some odd bug in the blogger system!)

Jen B - Well, yeah :) Now I'm not gonna turn this into a serious blog about the pros (?) and cons about France and it's people but I do know that I have French visitors and they're always welcome around as long as they have a sense of humour ;)

Rmilner - Well, why would anyone in their right mind want to move to Sweden? Have you been there in winter and experienced the darkness and cold?

Foggia said...

Even during the middle age, people from Scandinavia where trying to leave. Opting for countries like France instead.
To be fair, they were usually getting rid of the local population before settling.

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