Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

Here, when you don’t know what to talk about, you just talk about the weather. You simply can’t get wrong if you stick to this rule. If there is an awkward silence, all you have to do is to say something like “terrible weather, isn’t it?” and you are sure that the conversation will pick up. Guaranteed.
 
But be prepared: talking about the weather can happen anywhere, even in the most unexpected places. At work, I went to the loo the other day and the lady who was washing her hands next to me started a passionate conversation about how cold the weather had been over half term. I ended up having to pretend that I had an urgent meeting otherwise we would probably have spent the whole afternoon chatting away and we would still be there. I kid you not. That’s how intense the whole exchange was.

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Posted by / Category London /

Yep, you read that right. It happened a few years ago and it is time for me to come clean about it. To cut a long story short, we had managed to get opera tickets to see the Bolshoi at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. I am ashamed to admit that it was my very first opera in a foreign language (we French tend to stick to what we know). In my defence, this is also because I grew up in a small village in Provence, and opera was the last thing on everybody’s mind. In fact, I had been lucky to see a couple of performances. That day, we were seeing Eugene Onegin. I didn’t know what to expect. I had read that the story had been written by Pushkin, and the music by Tchaikovsky. It was all I knew. 

We sat down. Attending a performance in such beautiful settings was already a rare treat. The music started, and we were introduced to the feisty Olga and her sister Tatyana. Because don’t get this opera wrong: it was not about the selfish and cynical Eugene Onegin. It was all about the lovely Tatyana, who had decided to pour her heart in a love letter to Eugene Onegin, only to be left crushed and rejected.
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