Thursday, 30 April 2015

The Kindness of Strangers




We don't often hear uplifting things coming from the news. One recent disaster in particular made me think about my situation.

I remember a while back, I think it was a meme, drawing attention to the idea that if you are white, you are an "expat" but if you are any other colour, you are an "immigrant".



That is very true, and although I have often referred to myself as an immigrant, most people get the joke, they know I'm an expat, really.

And yet, even from my sheltered position of European expat, I know something of the utter vulnerability of immigrants. 
But the story is a beautiful one, not a tragic one.

Six years ago, I decided to move to England. I had a job waiting for me at the university, but I knew absolutely no-one, so I decided to arrive some weeks earlier than the start of my contract to sort out all the essentials one takes for granted in his/her own country. A house. A phone number. A bank account.

It was to be a shortish reconnaissance trip.

I flew over. Landed fine. Waited for my luggage. Which never came.




Somehow, my suitcase had been lost, with inside my hotel reservation, all my clothes and essentials. All I had was my purse, an almost empty French bank account, and a phone that didn't work in England. And I was in a strange city. Not only did I know no-one, I also had no idea how to get to places, how to even leave the blasted airport and where to. No access to the internet for a quick search. No life line to my parents (I was 21).

You may laugh now, but it felt pretty dire.

I may have cried a little bit.

And then there was this guy who came up to me, and asked me what the matter was. A French student who had spent a couple of years already in the neighbouring city. He simply offered for me to come with him.
I know alarm bells should have started ringing, but in my position all I could do was trust in a fellow human. 

So I did.

He took me to the house he was sharing with other people, they made me dinner, tried their best to cheer me up, and then he insisted I take his bedroom, whilst he slept on the sofa in the living room.

Over the next few days, he helped me sort out all I needed, managed to get my luggage back and waiting for me at the airport. I got a phone, a bank account and a room in a house-share near the university where I was to work. 

His housemates were a bit confused, and they asked me if we were interested in each other. But he never asked me for any way to contact me. I don't know his surname, he doesn't know mine, we didn't exchange phone numbers. I never saw him again after this.

Just one human being, reaching out to another.

It is so easy to forget when we talk of immigration, crunching numbers, when we deal in the scare-mongering of invasion rhetoric. But the reality of being a stranger in a country is terrifying. The fear, the folly, the isolation. The utter loneliness when you see lit up windows, but all you have to go back to is a hypothetical hostel, provided you can find one.

The hopelessness when you deal with bureaucracy, and they demand a permanent address in the country.

And then, someone speaks to you in those familiar sounds, those echos of home, so you cling to them. 

Because when you have no other choice but to depend on the kindness of strangers, sometimes, someone, somewhere, will rise beautifully to the occasion.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Classics v. Moderns, the Children's books edition


Hi, my name is Isabelle, and I have a problem.


I am obsessed with children’s books. I was even writing a thesis about them. About the historical impact of children's literature before WW1, to be precise. Big fan, here.

And I may have bought entirely too many children’s books considering Patapon is only just 10 months.

I don't know, you tell me

And these are only the books I bought myself. 
In the last two months. 
Before that, I was resisting the temptation. 
Then I failed.

So, I thought, why not make people profit by my unhealthy habit of buying children's books that, really, I am mostly going to be reading to myself for a couple of years, before I can actually introduce most of them to Patapon? I can even add the insider view from Academia! (Could it get any more exciting?)

You are welcome.

Selfless is my middle name. (Not really, it's Chantal Anne-Marie).

I do have a sample of opinion from kids who do come to my house regularly and have actually read the books with me. A niece (2), a nephew (G - 4), and my friend's two little boys, M (3) and E (2).

In general, my tastes tend towards the true and tested. You see, the problem with children's books is that the kids are not the ones buying them, so the sales are not indicating enjoyment by the children, but rather enjoyment by the parents (which is important too, don't get me wrong) so you can't trust best-sellers. On the other hand, the books you remember loving as a child, enough to pass on to your own kids, seem to me a more reliable source of ideas. So most of the books I buy are at least on their second generation of children.

However, let's find out if that holds true through this entirely unbiased review of the books that are currently in my living room (I know I am still missing many, some are on my "coveting" board on Pinterest and some in Patapon's room, being read to him at night):




Classics:


1.


This one I remembered loving when I was 4 or 5. So I bought it for G. And then I bought it for me. Sorry, I mean for Patapon. 
I remembered correctly. It is brilliant. The prose is great fun to read, the story enthralling, AND you can make lots of funny voices, but not so many that you lose track and get confused.
M requests it every time he comes to our house. It is, however, not a quick read. It may or may not have considerably delayed the putting on of shoes. I couldn't possibly say.

2.


This one I didn't know (I did grow up in France, reading different books, after all). But they got me with their cunning boast about the fact it was on its 25th anniversary. Clever Tesco.

For younger children than TEC, but also great fun to read. E knows it by heart.

Also, it's a Dad! Taking competent yet typical Dad-like care of his kids. Of which there are 4! (although M claims the biggest girl is the mum). This is rare enough to recommend the book on its own.

3.


This one I knew from my PhD days, as it is a great example of the extreme intertextuality which children's literature allows. So I bought it. 
And it is great fun. It's a simple read, doubling as a spot-the-classic-character game. But it is not reveling in its own cleverness (unlike other clever trick books - looking at you The Book with no Pictures).
My sample 2 year-olds loved it. Although they don't know who Baby Bunting is, and neither do I.


4.


Same idea as above for this one, but for slightly older kids. The letters refer to the well-known stories in a day-to-day life manner. Also a roaring success. But we still don't know who this mysterious Baby Bunting is.


5.


This one also got me through being an old classic, but I had never heard of it before Hallie mentioned it as an aside.
It is such a lovely, beautiful story. And the author doesn't seem to assume children can't cope with big words and beautiful writing (but that's another post for another time). It is very poetic, but not in the sense that it is easy to memorize and that it rhymes, like the Gruffalo. No, it is simply a thing of beauty. Read it! I order you to read it!


6.


It is impossible not to love Paddington. Another classic which therefore doesn't shy away from being well-written. The illustrations are also so sweet. And I may want a pet bear now (it would get on so well with my future Minke whale which I intend to adopt in order to protect it from the orca - it is just possible I may watch too much David Attenborough. And get slightly too involved.)

And now for the more modern ones, 

Moderns:



1.


A nice book overall, and fun to read out loud. It's another one that my sample knew by heart fairly quickly. They also requested it often. However, the writing and illustrations are only fine, rather than beautiful. And I am not sure what the moral is meant to be (the importance of moral is much more crucial than you think). Lie your way out of trouble? 
It's not exactly objectionable though. The mouse is being resourceful, but the fact that the lies become true draws attention to them. And yet the book doesn't offer any kind of resolution, are lies bad? A necessary evil? Something that can become true? What is your point Julia Donaldson? 
Don't get me wrong, I don't require that everything be spelt out to me, nor to the children reading. Children can cope with uncertainty, in fact it is very important to introduce difficult dilemmas in stories. But the Gruffalo doesn't do that. It simply entirely fails to make any kind of point. It is not even trying to make you think. And that is always bad literature, not just bad children's literature.

Altogether not worth the hype.


2.



This one I  saw on the shelf at the book shop and was intrigued. It is a classic play with the "object" book which serious academics specialising in children's literature love, because it generally enables them to make a very complicated point about meta-stories and deconstructivism.

In actual fact, it's just a clever trick book. Harmless, and fun. The sample loves it. I'm not sure that they will cherish it forever in their memory though. Read the Ahlbergs instead.

3. 


More of the same.The book makes the adult say silly things and in doing so underlines the contract between writer and reader (to use a term much loved by academics). The academics will use it as an example. The sample was only mildly interested. 
Also, if one wants to be technical, the contract here, the idea that a reader has to read what is on the page is simply not true. An adult who doesn't want to say silly things out loud can skip pages, close the book, refuse to read. The basic idea seem to be that parents are stupid people who don't know how to operate these simple tasks. I can't see how it is ever a good idea to pander to the child in such a way.
Read the Ahlbergs instead.


4.



This one was a huge success with M. It is long, and once again, rather than tell a story, the book revolves around a gimmick. However, the different crayons are mostly sweet characters, and the book is rather good at making the child look at the way he uses colours. Fun and harmless.

So here you go. Classics win. Even when it comes to clever tricks, the modern books seem to be heavy-handed and clunky. Feel free to disagree, but you will find me over there, reading Winnie the Pooh to Patapon.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Lost in Translation : Talking about the weather

Us Froggies, we have some pre-conceptions about the British. One is that they drink a lot of tea, another that they talk constantly about the weather. Both are correct. Whilst I still don’t fully understand the tea bit, I understand the bit about the weather.

I really really do.
I really really wish I didn’t.

There was an advert a couple of years ago. Some guys were put in a pod-thing to experience all kinds of weather, from “Turkish delight”, to “Dutch Drizzle”, to the worst weather of all, “English summer”.

I’m not laughing.

Not funny.

So, why do the British (and I) talk constantly about the weather? The reasons are two-fold.

First, it IS really interesting. My step-father-in-law, who is an endless font of titbits, says that in Britain (unlike everywhere else in the world, apparently), it is impossible to predict the weather more than a couple of days in advance, even within the usual wide margin of error allowed the weather forecast. They are not being cautious. They just can’t. Changes are that fast, and that radical.

So what if it’s August?! Who said the weather had to be summery just because the month is? 8ºC, that’ll do for you, England!

So when someone says “what a lovely day today!” it’s not a boring statement of fact. No, no! There is an element of delighted surprise, of course, but also a dash of uneasy excitement. We are waiting, shifting from foot to foot. Lovely day! Will it change? Will it stay? We don’t know! Aaaaah!

The weather, it keeps you on your toes! For real!

The second reason we talk about the weather is because we need encouragement. We are trauma-victims, wandering about under a maddeningly grey sky, saying in a slightly manic high-pitched voice, “looks like it’s going to rain!”  This, in one sentence, is another human being reaching out to you, sharing your pain and giving you a pat on the back.

Putting a brave face (and some balloons) on it.

And rain is not bad news, by the way! I’ve got wellies, a cool rain-coat and plenty of umbrellas, as well as hats and hoods when the wind is too strong for an umbrella. Rain? Bring it on!

Bring it on!

It’s not too cold either, maybe a couple of degrees lower than Paris, a few more as you go further north, but no dramatic difference. It can get really cold some winters, but just like anywhere.

No, the real killer is the endless grey. And no, Annie, the sun will NOT come out tomorrow, you can’t promise me that, you spoilt New-York-dwelling brat! Because quite likely it won’t, nor the day after, or the one after that. We will even forget what the sun even LOOKS like when despair grips our PTSD-addled minds as we reach day 10 of homogenous-what-time-of-the-day-is-it-I-don’t-even-know-or-care-anymore grey. 

Death by grey

And yet, you don’t know, because maybe, in an hour, it will all change. And you will miss it, because the baby will be sleeping or something. Blink, and it’s gone. Don’t even blink.

But you see, when it is sunny again, the exhilarating blue sky against the quaint rows of red-brick houses will trick us into signing up for another year.

Friday, 24 April 2015

7 Quick Takes: Should I Start a Blog?

Why:
1:

 I have been reading many Catholic mums’ blogs for a couple of years now. I love following other families’ thoughts and lives as they unfold, and feeling part of a community (devout Catholics are thin on the ground where I live – although there are some!). They teach me a lot, they reassure me a lot, and they often make me laugh.

Kendra, for example, is my life guru. I even met her once, in person, and I completely missed the opportunity to go all fan-girl on her (mostly because her and her family are such lovely people they gave me the impression they were really interested in my life and in my ramblings about the French Revolution, but also because I am awkward. So I was being awkward. Unless I was rambling. Plus I was eight-month pregnant, that’s always a valid excuse for anything, right?)

So, the internet is full of these wonderful people, and I started wondering, should I join in?

2:

I have recently stopped my PhD in history, and whilst it was the right decision, I do miss writing and getting a reaction back. However, I do not have the self-discipline and the singleness of purpose to try and write a book (otherwise, I’ve got a friend who could help!).


So blogging feels like a good fit.

Not my actual books.


Problems:

3:

The trickiest question for me is, if I write, should I write in English or in French? Because most of the blogs I read are in English, English feels like a more comfortable blogging voice. However, if I write in English, most of my French family is excluded, which also robs me of even the reassuring comment by my mum which would prove to me SOMEONE is reading.

But, a little mortification is not a bad thing.

4:

Also, are my motivations laudable? There is this line from the Litany of Humility that sat uncomfortably with me as I was considering blogging: “From the desire of being loved...” Am I just seeking personal gratification? 






But then again, there is no guarantee I would get any kind of reaction. The internet, it is big my friend! Besides, I hear the blogging world is on the wane anyway (aaah, jumping late on the bandwagon, the story of my life!) Plus, I am bad at taking risks, so I can call it therapy.

And a little mortification is not a bad thing.


5:

Do I have anything to say? I am a mother of ONE, and he is 9 months. I am hardly the font of advice the internet needed.

But a good one.

On the other hand, I am a French person living in England, trying to raise my son a Catholic in a hostile environment whilst balancing two cultures. And I can talk about history. I used to be PhD candidate after all, so I may still have a couple of insights to offer, right?

How:

6:

How do I even start a blog? My photography skills are minimal, and my technological know-how at the nadir. Well, I had reached that point in my deliberations, when Simcha stepped in the other day; so maybe, I’ll give it a go!


7:

Looks like it’s happening! Run to the woods!


Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Mermaid's Ennui

French Mermaids have it tough.
So, Simon was humming the Little Mermaid. More specifically, Part of Your World. I will allow a moment for all who remember his hard-rocking, head-banging days to fall from their chairs, pick themselves up again, shake a fist to the Heavens crying out “why, oh why?” or “et tu, Brute” then resume reading.

Back? Excellent.

This melodious interval led to a fun little game of French v. English, the Disney songs round (it always does. We are the definition of cool.) Which then made us realise that the French translations of Disney songs are incredibly more high-brow than the originals. Case in point:


Original English:

Look at this stuff
Isn't it neat?
Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?
Wouldn't you think I'm the girl
The girl who has ev'rything?

Direct Translation of the French:

All these secrets
I kept to myself
Do you not think that the fairies have fulfilled my every wish?
Do you not think that Life
has spoilt me too much?


Or my personal favourite:


Original English:

But who cares?
No big deal,
I want more!

Direct Translation of the French:

But all this
Leaves me indifferent
And full of ennui


 Clearly, French Ariel has weighed her social position as a privileged mer-princess, she is aware that this is undeserved (she refers to “fairies” and an embodiment of Life, outside agents akin to the Fate of the Greeks). Her double-dealings with her father are also at the forefront of her mind, she talks of “secrets” rather than “stuff”.
Even more striking is the comment on consumerism implied by her pathological hoarding of human paraphernalia: whilst English-speaking Ariel dismisses the objects themselves as not good enough, French Ariel is more self-aware, she puzzles at her lack of reaction. The consumerist mind-set tells her she should be satisfied, and yet, a true 20th century heroin, Ariel has to come to terms with the fact that she cannot fulfill the yearnings of her heart with stuff. 
The struggle is real, people.

And it’s not just Ariel.

Elsa is still wracked by guilt and not as self-assured:


Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door

Liberated, unburdened
I shall never lie again
Liberated, unburdened
It’s decided, I shall leave


Belle is a true poet (and a smidge less judgmental although she still wants to “live something other than this life”):


Little town
It's a quiet village
Ev'ry day
Like the one before
Little town
Full of little people
Waking up to say

Prim and proper town
On its little cloud
Where the days
Remain immobile
Where people
From early morning, chatter
About this or that


French Disney Princesses, they are DEEP , man.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Naughty Room

Over Easter, Simon, Patapon and I were in France, shipped first class via Eurostar by my parents who needed a grandson fix (Pounet, Mounette, je vous aime, mouaaah). So, we enjoyed free (and eager!) babysitters, a car full of petrol and went about our merry way, enjoying all the beautiful liturgies of the Triduum (O Versailles, they may mock you, but you do deliver). However, Simon eventually had to go back (pesky hospital) whilst I lingered on for a couple of days.



Holidays in France are tough.

The interesting part though, happened during the dreaded train ride back, alone with Patapon (he is great company, but doesn’t take very well to being restrained anymore). The train was crammed, but as I was in first class, courtesy of my wonderful parents (mouaah), it was reasonably comfortable, even with a sleeping 9-month old strapped to me.

He didn’t stay asleep, though.

And it was a Thursday. Which is not a Eurostar family day (first class gets taken over by screaming babies at weekends, I gather). Eventually, one of the stewardesses (are they called stewardesses on a train?), offered me a small compartment all to myself and Patapon.

Obviously, I did what anybody would have done, and sent lots of people lots of pictures of Patapon and I from the “naughty room” (I called it the “compartiment des punis” to the Frenchies, which was funnier, but hard to translate). I was slightly exasperated at our society’s obvious anti-baby attitude, but Patapon was delighted to roam freely at last, creating complicated ballet moves with his beloved Winnie, so really, it was alright.

Le compartiment des punis

But then I wondered, has our society really become anti-baby? I read many American blogs, and it seems to be the consensus amongst mommy bloggers there, yet when I put my historian hat on (I know I’m not really allowed anymore, PhD status en un jour tu vécu, but old habits...), it’s not that clear cut.

Would a screaming baby on the train have been frowned upon, up until the Second World War?

It would have depended where.

If you were poor, and travelling in third class, well, you would likely share with chickens anyway, so a screaming baby would be the least of your worries.

What screaming baby?

And no one would bat an eyelid if you kept the baby quiet through the good old breastfeeding tactic:



I bet she's got a chicken in that basket, too.

However, had you travelled first class with a child unable to show proper decorum, everyone would have tutted just as much as nowadays (more in fact!) and wondered why on earth was the screaming infant not travelling in second or third with the nurse?



There are two common types of fallacies in dealing with history. One is familiar to us as Catholics: the idea that people from the olden days were not very bright, because, you know, they were from, like, long ago (which is why they bought into all that irrational religion stuff –as an aside, I challenge anyone to show me an irrational argument in Thomas Aquinas. Go on, I’ll wait.)

Irrational moron from the thirteenth century

The other fallacy however is no less potent or dangerous, and it’s the Golden Age fallacy. The idea that, it was so much better before (or elsewhere, in an isolated jungle for example), or that long, long, ago,  people were doing IT right (I’m looking at you Paleo Diet, and all the fads harking back to better, uncorrupted times).

It was always sunny in the Olden Days


As it turns out, the Olden Days have as much of a claim to prejudice and reason as we do, so that any indictment or vindication of our society through comparisons with “how it was before” is likely to have to be met with Simon’s favourite academic answer in the whole universe:


I think you’ll find,
It’s more complicated than that.







Tuesday, 21 April 2015

So You Think You Could Do a PhD? (in humanities)

This highly accurate quiz is for you, aimless student, finishing your MA but still not sure what you are going to do with your life and therefore feeling like hiding a little longer in the skirts of Academia.

·         Are you generally good at being self-motivated? Can you make a schedule for yourself and stick to it? (That does not mean making a pretty timetable with all the colours so you can bask in its beauty whist you do not follow it). Even when no-one outside is going to check on what you are up to? Or kick you out of bed? Or prevent you from reading blogs? If the answer is yes, you get one imaginary point.

 
So pretty. Such colours. 


·         Can you chit-chat with people at conferences? Do you enjoy organising events? Is networking the stuff of life as far as you are concerned? Can you resist free food in order to make important contacts? Give yourself three imaginary points.

·         Are you planning any major, life-changing events, like a wedding in the first year and the gestation and birth of a human being in the second? Do you think it’ll be fiiiiiiiine? Subtract 30.

·         Are you willing to watch STEM PhDs get offered a second iPad for no reason whilst you have to wrangle with all the admin staff so they agree to subsidise you one pencil? Do you promise not to hate the physicists too much? You get half a point (because you are lying).

Not for you!


·         Can you resist reading one more hilarious piece of source material about sausages to concentrate on making sure you know all the current scholarly discussions on your topic? You get a point. You are also a robot.

·         Are you willing to revise, re-revise, and re-re-revise your article until it fits with the half-baked effort the Renowned Scholar you are sharing the journal issue with, re-hashed from his previous book? You get lotsa points. You hero you.

·         Are you able to use supervision time to have productive discussions and plans of action to accompany your progress? Will you resist such tempting subject matter as: parsley, cricket, whether husbands should crush their wives fingers in car doors, the rudeness of Parisians or hilarious undergrads' quotes? Two points.

Fascinating stuff.


·         Can you work in the office, encouraging all around you to type, type, typity –type, with only one scheduled break for a half-sandwich (or a cup of tea, obviously, but that doesn’t count)? Will you promise not to watch old episodes of Blind Date or a live stream of kittens? Or WWII videos about the correct posture to avoid fatigue? You lose two points. You are not taking this test seriously enough.

·         Whilst marking undergrads’ papers, can you read the sentence “So-and-So had many siblings, which explains why he advocated for the war” and not share it with the rest of the office, because, technically, really, you shouldn’t? Would you object to the setting up of a Seminar Student Bingo? You get points, but you’re also no fun.

Count up the points. If you get to, say, a few, you are probably alright to start a PhD, although you probably also have no idea. But hey! None of us do!

Anyway, what do I know, I quit in my second year.

Fancy a Brew? En VF

Due to popular demand (from my mum) some of the posts have been translated into French. They have no additional content, but feel free to practise your French!


À mon arrivée en Angleterre, j’ai eu la chance d’emménager dans une collocation avec des gens adorables (que je n’avais jamais rencontré auparavant, mais j’en reparlerai une autre fois). Ils m’ont présentée à leurs amis, m’emmenaient avec eux quand ils sortaient et ont organisé mon anniversaire (qui était pourtant juste après mon emménagement, quand ils me connaissaient à peine). En gros, ils ont fait tout ce qu’il était possible de faire pour qu’une étrangère isolée se sente bienvenue.



L’apprentissage à quand même été dur.

Je parlais anglais sans difficulté, donc la compréhension n’était pas un problème, mais certaines choses sont plus subtiles que leur sens dans le dictionnaire. (Enfin presque, j’ai quand même attendu plusieurs semaines avant de prendre mon courage à deux mains et de simplement DEMANDER à mon colloc ce qu’il criait en passant la porte à chaque fois qu’il rentrait – la réponse? « ‘ey up », « salut » en patois du Nord).



Le thé, par exemple, a posé un problème.


On sait très bien que les Britanniques aiment leur thé (même si on n’a en fait aucune idée à quel point, avant d’emménager avec certains d’entre eux). J’étais donc preparée à en boire beaucoup.

 Et, en effet, à chaque fois que je croisais quelqu’un dans la cuisine, ça ne ratait pas, on me proposait « un petit thé? » J’étais très touchée, parce que dans mon esprit de française, c’était l’équivalent de proposer « on se pose et on papote? » Je disais donc oui, et je me dépêchais de faire ce que j’étais descendue faire, puis je retournais dans la cuisine pour qu’on se boive ce thé.


Mais invariablement, je ne trouvais qu’un pauvre petit mug de thé abandonné, et pas de colloc.

Petit thé abandonné


Ça me surprenait un peu, et je m’inquiétais d’avoir commis un faux pas en osant partir 3 secondes après qu’on m’ait proposé un thé. J’ai donc essayé dans l’autre sens, pour voir si ça marchait mieux. Je leur proposais « un petit thé », mais eux aussi, ils acceptaient, partaient, revenaient, puis repartaient aussitôt, mug en main. Le mystère s’épaississait.



Au bout de quelques mois, j’ai enfin compris.

Pour la plupart des Britanniques, le thé est une necessité vitale. Ils leur en faut une dose à intervalles réguliers pendant la journée. Du coup, quand ils vous proposent « un petit thé ? », ils ne pensent pas à s’assoir et à discuter. Non, non, non! S’ils s’arrêtaient à chaque fois qu’ils prennent un thé, ils ne feraient rien de la journée ! Offrir un thé pour eux, c’est l’équivalent de proposer: « je monte le chauffage? » ou « tu es clairement en train de t’étouffer, tu veux que je te fasse la manœuvre de Heimlich, histoire que tu meures pas? »

Tout ce qu’ils font c’est s’assurer du bien-être commun. Ils sont prêts à vous aider à subvenir à vos besoins naturels, mais ils n’imaginent pas que vous ayez besoin d'aide pour le boire. Ce serait ridicule.

Ils pleureraient s’ils s’appercevaient de la quantité de thé que j’ai vidé dans l’évier avant de comprendre. 

Parce que, vous voyez, chers Anglais, pour moi le thé ne me viens en tête que dans un de ces deux cas :
  1. -      C’est l’heure du petit déjeuner
  2. -      Quelqu’un est arrivé chez moi, et il faut bien combler les premières minutes inconfortables avant que je trouve un sujet de conversation.


Après six ans, je n’ai toujours pas acquis le réflexe de me dire de temps en temps et sans raison appparente : “Ouuh, je sais ce qui me ferait du bien, là maintenant, tout de suite: une bonne tasse de thé fumante!”



Incompréhensible, je sais. Je suis désolée. C’est parce que je suis de l’Étranger.

le High Tea par contre... Miam miam miam