Can I admit that I’m surprised by how well France was ranked by Americans in this article?
I’ve been back in France for a while after the Christmas holidays and am being constantly reminded of one of the odd, low-level cultural differences between here and the US.
It seems to be absolutely obligatory that you wish people happy New Year once (and only once) if you talk to them in early January. Far more so than in the US.
Here’s an example email that I just got (which has the benefit of being in English, even if it was written by a Dutchman living in France :-):
Subject: Account Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2017 15:42:53 +0100 From: Bart To: Ganga Hi Ken, Let me start by wishing you a happy new year, and my best wishes for a good and healthy 2017! I would like to ...
Subject: Kickoff meeting Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2017 12:04:55 +0100 From: Herb To: list Dear all, Happy new year to all of you ! The wiki page...
And here are similar emails in French:
Subject: Version finale Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2017 13:53:47 +0100 From: Al To: list Bonjour à tous, Tout d'abord, je vous envoie mes meilleurs voeux pour la nouvelle année! Par ailleurs...
Subject: Appel Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2017 11:48:50 +0100 From: Steve To: list Bonjour à toutes et à tous, Mes meilleurs voeux pour 2017 ...
Most of my messages after the new year start like this. It’s like clockwork! The difficult part is knowing when to stop. It’s January 10th and most of many of my messages still have this. I don’t think it goes longer than a couple of weeks, and you’re really not supposed to wish someone a happy new year twice, of course.
It really reminds me of my “Bonjour” problem. You’re absolutely supposed to say “bonjour” to people when you first see them, but it seems to be a total faux-pas to say it twice to the same person in the same day!
Some day I’ll figure it out…
Here’s something that’s made me wonder a bit. At the right is a football (American, of course. 🙂 Taken from Wikipedia and edited a bit) kickoff. We all know what it looks like — ball tilted a bit towards the kicker, so we can kick it in the center of its length.
What confuses me is the difference with rugby. Below I’ve got a picture of the basic equivalent to a kickoff in rugby. Notice that here the ball is actually tilted away from the kicker. I guess this is because the rugby, while similar to a US football, is actually rounder at the ends, so you can actually kick it there, and probably get the ball further, since it’s harder.
(And for those that actually know rugby and recognize the player: yes, I’ve “inverted” the picture left-right to make it resemble the US Football picture. But this shouldn’t change the discussion…).
I vote in Connecticut. To get an absentee ballot, I have to request one via snail-mail. They’re not sent until a while before a vote, and obviously you can’t wait until the last minute. So you have to plan and make sure you request it at the right time. In addition, you can’t get get them sent to you regularly — you have to request one for each election, including different requests for primaries and general elections. Basically, they make it a pain. Intentional? You tell me. Apparently, in other states you can register as a permanent absentee voter and get the ballots sent to you automatically. Not me 🙁
I can usually deal with this 19th century technology, but this year is even more painful. I requested my ballot a bit more than a week ago, and I just got the reply. So far, so good. Usually it comes with an envelope (duh…), some instructions, a ballot, and two other envelopes. You’re supposed to put your completed ballot in one, “inner” envelope, and then send this envelope in the second, “outer” envelope they’ve given you. I guess this is to try to keep my vote secret.
But I didn’t get the “inner” envelope (they call it envelope ‘B’). I’ve written an email to the town clerk, but it’s hard to imagine that this will get cleared up in time for me to vote. It’s not hard to guess which direction absentee voters probably vote. You think this is on purpose?
Funny French translation of the day:
Roller coaster ride = montagnes russes (literally — Russian mountains)
France24 seems to be trying to get Brits stuck in post-BrExit France to become French citizens!
A while ago a bunch of banners showed up on some of the buildings on my street protesting the possibility of a McDonalds coming there. I just came across the Facebook page for the anti-McDonaldists, so I thought I’d post it. The banners are gone from the buildings and I still haven’t seen a Mickey-Ds (the French equivalent to “mickyD” == ‘macdo’), so they seem to have won for the moment. But it sounds like McDonalds tries periodically, and I guess they only have to succeed once…