Seeing France Through Rose-Colored Glasses
Have you ever sent an email to someone who wasn’t supposed to receive it, because you inadvertently copied that person on it? Or have you ever been on the other side of that equation and received an email that wasn’t meant for you to read?
I’ve been on both sides and no doubt, a slip of the ‘send button’ can ruin a relationship in about two seconds. It can also improve one or provide insight into someone’s thinking.
For all the Parler Paris, Parler Nice and French Property Insider Nouvellettres® that get published weekly to thousands of readers, a small percentage of you respond, some on a rather regular basis. Our long time editor/publisher, Schuyler Hoffman, is on the other side of the [email protected] email and gets to read every word of what you write. He then answers them to the best of his ability and forwards them on to me, sometimes with his own poignant comments. Over the years, we have both been privy to some of the most amazing and fascinating letters.
One of our favorites was from a person who signed his name Loo(*), but they were sent by no mistake. Loo wrote solid profanity…regularly. Almost any topic could spark him to make a retort in the most colorful of expressions. At first his letters seemed disgusting, but after a while, we came to rather enjoy them as they became a source of amusement. (*The name has been changed slightly to protect the guilty!)
One evening at an event sponsored by Democrats Abroad, a friend introduced me to the man sitting on her right — someone I recognized from having attended other Anglophone events — as “Loo.” The lightbulb went off in my head and I asked, “Loo? L-O-O, Loo? Are you the Loo who writes me regularly?” With his shoulders pointed in and his head hung low, he answered in a whisper, “Yes.” From that moment on, I never saw him again, nor received another one of his colorful missives. Now, I almost miss them!
Yesterday I received one of those letters that wasn’t meant for my eyes. It was from a regular reader with whom I’ve had a few exchanges who writes his own blog. He was confused by a recent Parler Nice Nouvellettre® and felt the need to analyze what he reads compared to what I, as a person, really think or feel, and meant to send it to someone who knows me fairly well who could clarify his questions. Instead, it landed ‘chez’ Schuyler who of course, forwarded it on to me with curiosity.
We all know that everyone has their own reality. We all see color, but some of us are colorblind and others are blind altogether and see nothing at all. So, let’s look at a pink rose. One person may see it as pink and another as blue and another only as the glorious scent. This is a simple example of how one’s reality can be quite different from another’s. Like this example, this is a case of someone having a different reality, but like color blindness, not realizing it, thinking everyone sees the picture just the way he does.
This letter provoked me to address some of the points of his colorblind perception, as no doubt, others may be seeing the pink rose as blue, too. Rose-colored glasses is a good metaphor for what he believes I am wearing, accusing me of writing what I think “people like to hear and leave them to figure out all the negative sides of France themselves.”
Do you think that’s true? Some have accused the Parler Paris Nouvellettres® of being negative or critical, particularly of the current French administration.
Yes, I am frustrated by the high cost of having the luxuries France provides (French taxes), and by those who take advantage of them (squatters, the professionally unemployed, etc.), and the endless quagmire of French bureaucracy (making doing business like being in a straight jacket and asked to do somersaults), and haven’t we addressed many of these issues, including anti-Semitism in France and a variety of taboo subjects that others say perhaps would be best left alone?
Yes, but that doesn’t mean I want to leave France because of some of the negative sides of living here. There are negative sides to living anywhere. There is no utopia. For those who come to France on sabbatical, or are retired, or independently wealthy and just having a good time, those less-than-desirable elements of life in France may never touch them. And for those that will be touched, you can imagine will be muttering the mantra, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Another of his interesting observations is a difference in opinion about the value of investing in French property. He accuses me of misleading our readers into thinking it’s “a sound financial decision” and claims that someone who does so based solely on our Nouvellettres® would be a fool.”
It would be interesting to know if he has done so himself. I am forever grateful for having invested in French property myself thanks to the revenues, appreciation and security. And of the hundreds (literally) of people whom we have helped and maybe thousands whom we have encouraged, I know of only one or two who regretted it and less than a handful who even sold out. And while he claims that the days are over for foreign investors in France, he’s wrong. In 2009, when Americans lost their money in the stock market crash, they had no money with which to invest, so they did nothing. But that period is gone and their money is back and so are they…by the droves. We must know, since we have direct contact with them on a daily basis.
He wonders why I stay in France with the hurdles one must make to create a secure and prosperous life here. He accuses me of creating a Disneyland-like image of France and only pointing out the romantically positive aspects of life here. Is that true? Is Parler Paris really as “surreal” as he says? Clearly, I don’t think so.
I will admit to questioning why I like living here — why not just ‘go back’ to the good ol’ U.S. of A. and take advantage of a freer, less bureaucratic way of conducting business, lower taxes and what we think of as an easier lifestyle? Because guess what? It’s not so perfect, either. The scale is every bit out of balance on the other side of the pond as it is here — just in the other direction — so everything ends up a trade-off.
After all was said and done, his closing remarks were that his feelings were not based on fact, but based on his “gut” and that I appeared to be “a nice and friendly person.” So, it seems, he came full circle in his own reality that perhaps even he was not seeing the rose as pink.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris & Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
P.S. It’s always nice in Nice, and even better when you book your stay with Parler Nice Apartments! Choose the bright and colorful Le Matisse one-bedroom apartment or the cool blue and gold seashore themed La Côte du Paradis two-bedroom apartment. Or book the apartments together so you can travel with friends and family. Book your stay today!
P.P.S. Property investors: Take a tour of Europe’s Frontier Markets, Greece and Macedonia, June 7-22, 2014. Chris Mayer, editor of Capital and Crisis and Mayer’s Special Situations, will be leading our group to Greece and Macedonia, and he’ll reveal once in a lifetime investment opportunities in both of these countries. This could be one of the most inspiring, most profitable journeys you’ve ever been on and we’ll be exploring it in VIP style all the way. Learn More About this Special Opportunity