Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's All Garbage

So, the current strikes and economic/political climate in France have kind of forced me to be informed in a way that I never really felt forced to be in the U.S. If you're interested, here is one of many pertinent articles about the protests and discontent going on right now, in particular involving the garbage strikes in Marseille, where I am headed tomorrow for vacation... http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1323500/France-strikes-10-000-TONS-waste-pile-streets-Marseilles.html Luckily, news sources say that the sanitation workers have agreed to begin cleanup today. So I should be able to enjoy the vacation stink-free.

It's just interesting to me how much life changes me every year - maybe if I had stayed in the U.S., this might still have been the year that I was somehow "forced" into paying attention to politics more. I do think that I am more informed than the general population to some extent, but I have always felt so viscerally turned off from talking about politics and the economy that I have always avoided that awful feeling that seems to surge through me when I'm sitting in a group and talk turns political: suddenly I'm overwhelmed with a feeling of "I don't like this; get me out of here. I am suddenly angry and afraid." Frankly, I enjoy my life of optimism and tempered idealism; I would rather not sully it with utterly depressing conversations about politics. No one is ever satisfied, and people get very aggressive when they talk about it, and I would rather spend my energy on things that make people feel good. And not just other people - my own mental/emotional well-being is obviously a big priority.

In any case, I just wanted to make this topical concession to those of you who are actually interested in the current situation in France. I'd rather not go into it further haha. SO! Here are some more things I've noticed about life here:
  • There are coin condom dispensers on the outside of the corner pharmacy! How did I not notice this before?! I can only imagine the dire circumstances that would require their use...
  • I'm getting very used to the taste of French ultrapasteurized milk, guys... save me!
  • Apparently the cheese I bought that I thought was Brie was actually Camembert... no wonder it smelled so awful after a few days... and it was definitely gooier inside than I remembered Brie being. So I guess I'm off the hook for trying more strong cheese, right? haha
  • I got a voicemail from Chronopost (kind of like FedEx/UPS) but for the life of me, I can't catch what the guy is saying. Even after listening to the message three times, all I got was the general gist that I have a package but that it can't be delivered because my name isn't on the mailbox, and to call a number that he rattles off in under two seconds (leaving me with absolutely no clue of the number), and something that sounds like an endless confirmation number. Agggh France! I guess, just like the U.S., you have people who don't have good phone manners... ETA After several more listens and some intelligent Googling, plus a successful phone call to Chronopost in French, I have figured out what I need to do! +1 for the American.
  • I really really need to stop buying Nutella and its store-brand knockoff counterpart. (Do we even have knockoffs of it in America?) Really need to stop.


  1. So, what was the package you got? Was it from me? Was it your transportation voucher? Was it from your bank? I recall that there are Nutella knock-offs here, but just pass on by both the Nutella and pseudo-Nutella when I am at the grocery store(s). It takes a lot of self-control to do so, too! Thank you for the link to French politics. I listened to a very long (too long) "dissertation" from the crepe vendor about French v. American health insurance and politics. It was one of those "I love the USA and especially California, but.........." Can you be a member of the EU even though you are only working in France this year? Does it cost something? I'm not saying you should give up your US citizenship, but was wondering how or if you could become part of the EU while you were there. Sorry for my typical long-windedness, and I look forward to Skypeing you this weekend!

  2. Not that this applies to the particular article you cite, but the Daily Mail has a pretty bad reputation in the UK. Seeing a link here made me think of this, haha: