The ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.
“He could achieve the American dream only by hard work”
I miss New York. I spent a few days over there, and loved it. Nobody commented on my French accent, and it felt, well, refreshing. Not to mention that I ran every day to train for the 100k in September (you can read all about it here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Muriel-Demarcus). I saw the city in a new light. I especially liked the Hudson river at 6 am. The light was amazing, right?
I felt right at home. The food was great. As usual, I was struggling with the size of the portions (they were huge!!!), and I have to be more mindful of what I am eating now, but hey, life is to be enjoyed, right?
It was bound to happen. So it did. What am I talking about? Well, both my passports (the French & the British) had to be renewed. Don’t ask. It was all about some silly visa problems. On the bright side, I was going to do everything at once, and be done for the next 5 years. Well, at least that was the theory…
There was no two ways about it: I had to start. Renewing a passport doesn’t come cheap. If you must know, it costs £72.50 for the British passport. But on the bright side, I could do everything online. So I did. And I sent all the supporting documents by tracked mail, just to be on the safe side. I had almost forgotten about the whole thing when someone rang the bell and delivered me my brand new British passport. The whole process had taken less than 10 days. I was delighted.
Right. It all happened the other morning, when I was starting the school run. As you may know, in England there are roundabouts everywhere. They swear by roundabouts over here. Roundabouts are apparently the solution to all traffic problems, without any exception. Small junction? No problem, let’s put a small roundabout. Big junction? Let’s put a huge one, or even a double or a triple one. There is even a ‘magic roundabout’ in Swindon; it consists of five mini-roundabouts arranged around a sixth central. I kid you not. They are thinking of listing it, I am told. Something to do with epitomising British values such as spontaneous cooperation. I am joking of course (I told you, even we French sometimes do sarcasm).
But I digress. When I arrived at the small roundabout down the road, I made sure I was driving slowly, controlling the speed of my Chelsea tractor, when a black cab arrived full speed ahead, ignoring that I was actually already on the thing, turning right. He honked furiously, at 7am, and I felt that I had no choice but to stop and let him pass while he was calling me all sorts of names.
After the Two-Oceans marathon I needed a new challenge. That’s just me, I suppose. You see, I don’t fit into any particular category. For instance, I am French, but also British. I am a runner, but I don’t really like the usual 5k or 10k races. So what to do? Well, I have set my my views on a 100k race: the Thames Path Challenge on the 10th of September, from Putney Bridge to Henley.
What can I say? I love long distances. As in, really long distances. This time, I will be running for a charity I have been supporting for years, ActionAid, Please wish me luck. I am not sure what I got myself into. You can click on my fundraising page here: https://www.justgiving.com/Muriel-Demarcus. Of course I would be delighted if you could sponsor me, but I would also really appreciate you to send me some encouragements as I am not sure what I got myself into. I take some comfort in the fact that, when I run for a long time, there comes a point when I feel really bad (this is actually a British understatement), but it doesn’t get any worse (am I making sense? I hope so).
And frankly, nothing can describe the feeling of having completed a long race. I just love it.
I am back home. Or am I really? Where is home anyway? I don’t know. But this much I know: things seem to happen at a different pace over here, in Provence. I am trying hard to make my children love this place. After all, it is where I grew up.
It’s harder than I thought. My younger one wants to speak English. Why wouldn’t she? But when she does, everybody is looking at her as if she were a freak. No, she’s only British! We are not in the touristic part of Provence. We have to conform. She has to speak French. I am glad she is trying. We’ll get there. Eventually.
The views of the Mediterranean sea are breathtaking, and there is magic in the light over here. I wish I could train for my races here: there are hills, traffic-free roads along the beach and fantastic trails. What am I doing in London again? Why did I leave?
There is always a small chapel to reach at the top of a hill (Notre Dame De Miremer in this instance), and I feel like I am travelling back in time, sharing with my daughters what I used to do every weekend. Ah, memories!
I am back from Phoenix and my head is still in the clouds. It was my very first time in the West of the United States (I have been to New York a few times, but never elsewhere before). I loved it!
It was colder than expected, especially in the mornings. Me being me, I had booked a 10k race on Saturday (i.e. a few hours after landing). You see, I don’t like to make excuses…That’s just me, I suppose. And it’s also part of the dream: I want to run in the most beautiful places on earth. And some dreams require, well, dedication. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise (I am a bit patronising today, it must be the jet lag).
The thing is, the race was starting at 8 o’clock in the morning, and we needed to leave the hotel by 7. It was too early to have breakfast. As my husband isn’t a runner (as in, not at all), he didn’t see what the problem was. Running on empty? Of course you can…Yeah, right. I ended up having to gulp a snickers bar, which wasn’t ideal. To make matters even worse, I am always a bit nervous before a race. That’s just part of the fun, isn’t it?
It had to happen, right? Spending twelve years in London was bound to leave some marks.
Today, I was near my home town, in Toulon, speaking at a conference (see the details here: paperdotcon). It was good to be back. You see, I love everything about Provence: the light, my childhood friends, the food, and the Mediterranean of course. But today, I was told (half jokingly, but still) that I had a British accent.
Me, a British accent?
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the hotel had a running club. I didn’t know what to expect, because apparently they had just started it. Me being me, I was wondering whether I would be too slow. I really needed to stop being scared, but that was another story. I decided to give it a try.
I didn’t manage to get up the first day. 7.30 am was simply far too early for me, because I was still jet-lagged and had finally fallen asleep around 5 am. I managed to get up the second day. As usual, I was at least 10 minutes in advance. That, again, was just me: I might be French but I have always hated being late.
The Balinese instructor’s, Elit, arrived shortly afterwards. We were also joined by an Autralian guy, and by a British lady from Hong-Kong. Elit showed us some stretches, and we swiftly walked to the beach.
We started running. In fact, we started jogging. This was a little bit faster than a walk, but not by much. What a relief! Elit explained to us that his knee was playing up a bit, and he had to start slow. Fine by me.
I don’t know if it’s my French side, or if it’s just me. But this much I know: I can’t stop. I can’t stop learning, I can’t stop thinking, I can’t stop worrying, I can’t stop working, and I can’t stop having new ideas. Yes, I know: most of you will feel tired just reading this. Sorry.
The thing is, I am on holidays in Bali -of all places. But I still have to do a lot. I just have to. Despite the stunning sceneries, the rice paddies and the amazing art, there is always something to do. Always. Not to mention that as a mum, you are never off duty. Never. There is always a drama waiting to happen.
How do I switch off? Why can’t I switch off? I have no excuse whatsoever…
Never. It must be a French thing. I hadn’t realised that there was a bikini police, but apparently when a woman hits 35 or 40 she has to dress more conservatively. This means that we are not supposed to wear crop tops, mini skirts, or bikinis. I know that it may come to a shock to you but although I feel 25 in my head my official age says something slightly different. What can I say? Time flies. It’s part of the many unwritten rules more mature women have to follow: dress sensibly.
Seriously? Says who?