Paris Frustrations, Additions and Cathartic Solutions
Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of French Toast, French Fried and Joie de Vivre had us all laughing yesterday at Parler Paris Après Midi at the tales of the cultural antics she’s ‘endured’ over the last 40 years of her love affair with France and her husband, Philippe. Someone in the group asked how she managed to dispel her frustrations with cultural clashes…and how writing about it all has been “cathartic?”
The word “cathartic” was a good choice of terms — a term used by Freud’s colleague, Josef Breuer, “who developed a ‘cathartic’ treatment for persons suffering from hysterical symptoms through the use of hypnosis.” (Wikipedia.org) In essence, catharsis is a way of purifying or purging oneself from certain emotions and creating a ‘spiritual renewal.’
You may have noticed a bit of my own cathartic venting of late — a cultural clash that’s creating an internal battle between the belief system in which I was raised and the French belief system I’m still trying to understand after 18+ years in Paris. Life in France is forever a roller coaster ride that only lets you off when you’re back in your own native country. So to those of you thinking of making it a lifestyle choice, to make France your home, be forewarned. If you spend a full year in France, the chances are you will never leave.
In many ways this lifestyle is addicting…but like any addiction, it has its side affects:
1. You will never see another city again without comparing it to the beauty of Paris.
2. You will never see another country again without comparing it to the beauty and pristine-ness of France.
3. You will never eat another piece of bread again without recalling the taste of a good baguette.
4. You will never see another one-hundred-year-old house and think it’s ‘old.’
5. You will never think again that money is what provides real quality of life.
6. You will never think again that the American Way is the Only Way.
7. You will never think again that a 70 year-old women shouldn’t be wearing a mini skirt.
8. You will never think again that public transportation is for the less fortunate.
9. You will never think again that life should be easy, instead of ‘rich.’
10. You will never want to live in a place again where: people think it’s a given right to own and/or carry a gun; women shouldn’t have the right to make decisions about their own bodies; one must be wealthy to have good healthcare and education; some people make exorbitant income and others are starving; people can’t openly discuss their viewpoints without insulting the others and where how much you earn is more important than who you are as a person.
Yes, there are lots of things worthwhile about never having discovered this addiction. As the old saying goes, “ignorance is bliss.” If you never try it out, you’ll never know both the pain and the pleasure of living in France. Then, like Harriet (and so many others, you may want to write about it!
Footnote: Read more about yesterday’s Parler Paris Après Midi and see the photos by visiting Parler Paris Après Midi. You can find Harriet’s books at WH Smith, who so kindly brought books to sell, or visit our Recommended Reading pages.
And don’t miss next month’s coffee gathering on February 12th when Dr. Monique Y. Wells, author, editor and businesswoman discusses “Keys to Mastering a Well-rounded Life.”
Also, FYI, Monique is co-hosting a live, 2-day event at the American Chamber of Commerce this April 11-12 called “Make Time Your Ally – Increase Your Revenue through Time Mastery.” She is also offering a special, pre-event training class called “6 Simple Steps to Getting over Overwhelm” that requires early registration (February 15th). “This course will get participants laser focused on their specific business challenges and move them rapidly toward achieving their most important business goals.” For more information, visit http://bit.ly/WkApr13 and be sure to tell Monique Parler Paris sent you!
More News to Feed Your Addiction:
1. The English literary community in Paris is so important that now the national news channel, France 24, is devoting a part of their culture show to English-language books every Thursday at 9:45 a.m. Who better to be their book critic than our own illustrious Sylvia Whitman of Shakespeare & Company Bookstore? For a recent show, visit France 24.
2. Another new House Hunters International (our 8th with three more to come!) will be aired this coming February 4th — “Every Little Girl’s Dream Comes True?…in Paris (Episode HHINT-4807H) airing February 4, 2013 at 1:30 a.m. EST/PST and 10:30 p.m. EST/PST. “Katherine is a successful Hollywood screenwriter who’s aspired to live in Paris since learning of her French heritage as a child. Now a mother herself, Katherine wants to buy a home in her favorite city so she can explore her past, inspire her daughter’s future, and show her aging father a glimpse of their family’s roots. Katherine is looking for a space that embodies the Paris of her dreams: somewhere replete with the history, romance, and charm that has become the city’s signature. Watch as House Hunters International makes every little girl’s dream come true in Paris, France.”
3. Introducing Barbara Navarro’s first book, “Amazon Rainforest Magic — The adventures of a Yanomami Boy” now available by visiting our Recommended Reading pages.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
(“Making a Mess,” – Photo by Pamela Shandel)
P.S. Special Request of Readers: Since we don’t get to see the House Hunters International show here in France, I’d greatly appreciate it if anyone is willing to record it and send it to me! Email [email protected] with your electronic file! Many thanks!