I have to break it out to you: in France, we don’t celebrate Boxing day. We simply don’t have it. Tough but true. It is common practice to go back to work on the 26th of December. Usually, you celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and you have a big lunch on the 25th. That’s it, celebrations are over. See, contrary to popular beliefs, the French are sometimes working when the Anglo-Saxon world just stops for a massive shopping spree! I thought that I should clarify this point. Somehow it makes me feel better. It might have something to do with the fact that I used to be told all the time that ‘we French’ never work.
When we first moved to London, I didn’t understand why you don’t have to go to work on the 26th of December. It took me a while to get it. That said, there is a Tube strike in London today and I won’t venture anywhere near a shop today. Not a chance.
Boxing Day is just a bonus for us. London is empty and it is a good time to catch up with family and just take it easy. I might even go for a lovely jog outside it it doesn’t start to rain again. I might be British now but I can’t really run in the rain. What are treadmills for anyway?
I hope that you are all having a lovely time, and that you don’t have to work today!
I am spending a few days in France to visit family. The thing is, I come from a small village and, basically, there is no choice: I have to rent a car to get there. This means that I have to drive my little ones in a country that’s supposed to be mine but that I don’t recognise any more.
Well, driving in France is nothing short of a challenge. It looks like there is a different set of rules over here. People at the wheel become some sort of monsters who will stop at nothing to make your life a living hell while you drive.
For instance, speed limits must not be respected. Speed limits are, in fact, a minimal speed. Unless there is a police van or a radar, of course. I tend to be very disciplined and I was driving at exactly 90km per hour (the speed limit). Well, everybody was overtaking me. Everybody, even lorries and motorcycles. Unbelievable. Maybe I ended up in the middle of a race without knowing it.
If you don’t have any visibility, it is not a problem, you can overtake. I find this behaviour incredibly dangerous, especially on small country roads, but it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. Have I missed something?
If you believe that the driver in front of you is too slow, you stay as close to him/her as possible. Lovely. Maybe it is supposed to be funny. I need to buy a ‘keep your distance’ sticker. I am not sure that it will work but you never know, it might be worth a try, I suppose.
Traffic lights are just a Christmas decoration at night. Stopping at a red light in the middle of the night is considered to be rude because you are hindering the fluidity of the traffic. Of course. How come I hadn’t thought of this?
No car is too old to be driven, preferably fast. I see old cars from my childhood everywhere…Some look like a pot of yogurt and I thought that they might disintegrate on the motorway. But they didn’t. Mind you, they almost flew.
In short, every time I have to drive somewhere over here, I am freaking out. You do have the odd angry driver in London, but it is the exception rather than the rule…well, it is the other way around over here.
I really hope that I will make it back to London in one piece, as I am honestly appalled with such road rage.
That said, apparently I shouldn’t complain. I am told that it is even worse in Italy. Life is full of challenges I suppose. Maybe I should buy an old tank?
Before starting, I have to tell you that travel is in my blood. I don’t know why, but I am never happier than with a suitcase and a plane ticket.
I happen to be French. My birth country is therefore France. I live in London and the UK is becoming my adoptive country.
That said, right now I am enjoying New York and, despite the jet lag it feels really good.
I am watching my adoptive country doing well in the Olympics. But it doesn’t seem to go down very well with my birth country. They believe that the British have bent the rules and even used ‘magic wheels’ for some cycling competitions -the magic wheels in question are, ironically, manufactured in France.
As a results, the anti-Olympic mentality is quickly gaining momentum in France, which is a shame.
I will say it out loud: what is wrong with the French? They seem to forget that, when the rules play in their favour, they don’t say anything ( do you remember Thierry Henry’s hand during the France/Ireland match?). And when the French swimmers kept winning medals they didn’t seem to have any afterthoughts! Our newly elected president even joked that the British had paved the way for the French to win medals. What a difference a week makes!
They simply can’t accept that they lost. It is probably because they believe that they are the best. How can you progress if you don’t accept that there is room for improvement?
I hope that, in time, they will learn their lessons and thrive to become the best. You see, I have a bit of a loyalty issue here: I have therefore decided to support whoever wins, French or English.
Somehow travelling has made me become more open-minded. I know that we are all humans and there is nothing like a healthy competition to push us a bit!