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Posts Tagged ‘stereotypes’

-so, where are you from?

-well, it’s kind of complicated. I was born in Thailand but went to an American middle school there. Thus the American accent. And then my folks moved to Namibia and after that I went to college in Australia. But I’ve lived in London for the last six years, but I was doing consulting work in Dubai for most of that time.

-Gawd… you’re so INSEAD.

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I’m loving it at INSEAD, if not in living in France.  Yet.  I’m hoping that once I learn some French, the place will start to grow on me.  Like a fine cheese mold.  
 
I don’t know what to make of Fontainebleau.  I’m starting to get the sense that this town and I are going to have a love-hate relationship.  Now that the weather is letting up – just after the frozen circle jerk in the woods that helped us learn about our communication styles and got us to start talking about what we do well together and where we can grow.  I’m being facetious about it because you’re supposed to be facetious about things like ropes course team-building, but I have to admit that it was a day well-worth the frostbite.  We collectively acknowledged that our team’s quest for efficiency comes at the expense of creativity and fun.  We learned that our reluctance to disagree leads to a lack of thoroughness and thoughtfulness.  We saw how one person’s dominant personality can lead to another person’s withdrawal from an activity.  During the day I realized that I’m overcompensating for my dominant personality by being too passive.  I also learned how hard it is to re-set a course when the momentum of the group has set another course in motion.         

But back to FBL.  Let’s enumerate:

LOVE: there are 5 boulangeries and 3 fromageries on my way to school

HATE: they’re never open when I’m walking by.  I also hate that I don’t speak any French and can’t ask anything about the cheese selection.  Then again it keeps me from displaying my ignorance.  Since I passed my Spanish language exam (I’m assuming I passed since they haven’t told me that I failed… faulty logic?  Perhaps), I’m seriously considering taking French lessons to enhance my cheese selection abilities.

 

LOVE: I saw a dude on a bike with a wicker basket full of baguettes

HATE: that he was smoking.  While this absolutely fits with my stereotype of French dudes, I would rather that he have a striped shirt, or a mustache, or a beret, or bushy eyebrows.  

 

LOVE: the Mardi, Vendredi, Dimanche market on Rue Grande

HATE: that I’m always in class (or sleeping) when it’s happening

 

LOVE: the whacky trimmed willow trees all over town.

HATE: the piles of dog shit under each of them.  that’s a serious deal-breaker for me.  I had heard of this before moving to France, but I honestly didn’t believe it, and now I can’t get my head around it.  This is perhaps a topic deserving its own entry.   

http://flickr.com/photos/muddy/384806473/tree1

LOVE: the VERY French carousel in the center of town

HATE:  well… nothing…  there’s nothing to hate about that.  

 

LOVE: the yuppie kichen goods stores in the town center 

HATE: that I can’t afford that shiny Kurn Rikhon pressure cooker with digital read-out or those dreamy silicone terrine pans in pea green

 

LOVE: the “clusterfuck” of people I’m living with

HATE: our douchebag landlords who cut every corner imaginable to get the job done.  Maybe if I had been living in a 25sq m studio in Paris, I could appreciate what we have.  But I haven’t, so I don’t.

 

LOVE: anything that fits within my stereotype of French things.

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