Friday, November 29, 2013


My heart has swelled like a balloon with humbleness. That may sound like an oxymoron but it is how I feel. For I wish to extend my sincere thanks for all of the extremely kind compliments, encouragements and support both in recent emails as well as in comments here. There is still a tiny bit of room left on the table for talk of gratitude, isn't there? I appreciate it more than you know. 

I have said it many times before but it is not a straight line to walk in this expat life. It zigs, it zags, it disappears entirely out from under your tapping feet from time to time. Good then to have others, even in the shadows, hovering with a piece of chalk in hand to sketch a few possible forthcoming steps. One, two, cha-cha-cha.

I thought that this article by Pamela Druckerman in the New York Times did a fine job of capturing the con-man charming conflict that can rise up within even the most well-intentioned of folks living over-seas and while it is written specifically from "an American abroad at Thanksgiving" point of view, I have a notion that it might apply to all of we "lost and found" types. You can find it by clicking here. 

I was also quite moved today while listening to the exceptional Krista Tippett's On Being podcast. This particular interview is with Eve Ensler, a playwright and social activist who is most widely known for "The Vagina Monologues," a piece that has helped bring awareness about violence to women and girls globally. However, the subject of this podcast is "A second wind in life: Eve Ensler on inhabiting the body after cancer" and it is just as ground-breaking in its perspective towards what is also considered a taboo topic in many societies. For anyone struggling with cancer (or their friends and family members), I cannot recommend it highly enough. But they touch on other ideas that make it worth a listen for the rest of us, such as how our past experiences can take up residence in our body and a gorgeous section on the Nature of Love. You can find the podcast by clicking here.

Which brings me back to where I started. For love is all around, n'est ce pas? In all sorts of different forms and sizes so much that we can miss the forest for the trees because we are too busy searching for  a Redwood. 

"I believe in you." It is as simple as that and one of my favorite sentiments. I'll try to remember, then let that balloon go and watch it rise and rise...


Have a lovely weekend.


Suze said...

'I have said it many times before but it is not a straight line to walk in this expat life. It zigs, it zags, it disappears entirely out from under your tapping feet from time to time. Good then to have others, even in the shadows, hovering with a piece of chalk in hand to sketch a few possible forthcoming steps. One, two, cha-cha-cha.'

I. LOVE this!

Thank you for your Thanksgiving wishes all the way from across our beautiful blue marble, dear H. Sending you a wish for all good things.


Elizabeth Eiffel said...

One's heart is inexplicably linked to the colours, scents, sounds and tastes of the country in which they are born, no matter how wonderful or better their adopted land is to them.
When in France "Just cooking pancakes on Sunday morning" or lining up in the supermarket are “intercultural events" that make my heart sing - but I know I will be getting on a plane in a matter of weeks or months to return home. I realize that, despite my best efforts, French ancestry (albeit long ago) and great Uncles who sacrificed their lives for this country and lie buried beneath French soil, I will never belong there, but this doesn't stop me from trying to be French as possible, and loving every (often frustrating) minute I'm in France. Bon weekend.

puppyfur said...

Much is true here, and beautifully expressed. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

robin said...

Just read the article - she did seem to nail the experience! And I thought you fit neatly into the 3rd category of people expats living in France. I was on On Being recently and noticed that interview but didn't think I could relate to it - I'll have to give it a listen! Yes, still grateful over here, too; especially this long, luscious, quiet weekend with David! Giving thanks, indeed! : )

simpleimages2 said...

Many things change life's journey though some heavier than others.

Even something familiar as a beautiful sunset is full of meaning.

teamgloria said...

oh wow - thank you for that Eve Ensler podcast - meaningful and thoughtful and wonderful.


_tg xx

penelopebianchi said...

Love love love the picture of the sky! My goal is to try to live every day as a dog!!
They are happy to wake up! HAPPY to see us! happy to have food! If we step on their tail or foot.......they don't pout, hold a grudge, or even remember! They know we "didn't mean it!!"

They live in the moment! (My goal is to live like Your dogs,.or My dogs)!!

(Not neglected dogs) Live in the moment and the present......that is what we have!

The past is gone.......(no looking in the rear-view mirror)! Not much looking at the future.......(may never come!!)

Celebrate today! Boy, was I wagging my tail at Thanksgiving with 28 of our family at my daughter's!

Blog post to come!


david terry said...

Oh, Heather......It was just this past week, on a chore-packed day, that I came into the kitchen and sat down for what was supposed to be only five or so minutes. The Eve Ensler interview came on the radio. At first I sniffily thought "Oh, it's that Vagina Monologues woman.....ughh.....".

I'll be honest...I've heard so much ABOUT her (and almost all of what I'd heard turns out to be completely misguided) over the years that I began listening only so that I could scoff, more or less. Within perhaps two minutes (at most?), I was thinking "This woman is really wonderful".....and I pleasurably sat there at the kitchen table for the entire, gratifyingly long, and thorough, interview.

So much for assuming that you won't "like" a writer solely on account of what you've heard (I should emphasize that I've never seen a production of the monologues; I've merely heard them endlessly discussed in this overly-academic town). My impression is that Ensler/her work are easy to cariacture. Listening to her speak inthis interview, I realized what a dis-service that sort of easy-dismissal is.

Suffice it to say that I was extremely impressed/struck by what Ensler had to say. At several points, I thought that she must be reading from a prepared/memorized script...but then I realized "No...she simply has an absolutely firm command on what she's thinking....none of these are 'canned' responses".'s gratifying to learn that your tail was sitting over there in France, listening to the same interview. Oh,and thanks for providing the link; after hearing the interview, I realized that I hadn't noted which danged PROGRAM it was on.

thanks for the grand posting,

David Terry

P.S. I spent last night at a splashy opening at a gallery that's newly stuck me in their stable. At one point, a markedly elegant woman began talking to me. AFter ten or so minutes,I finally said what I'd been thinking..."I'm sorry, but haven't we MET before?". She admitted to having the same deja-vu sensation. We started throwing out referfences to our past (I've lived in this area since 1987 and got around town a lot back in the old days). Then/finally, she asked "Did you used to go to Nana's?" (it's a very elegant restaurant in Durham). I said, "To eat there?....No, but I was a waiter there for seven years..but that was, like, 15 years ago at least". Her eyes widened, and she blurted out, in front of everyone "THAT'S It! We used to go there all the time. were a Really MEAN waiter!". I told her that I'd take that as a compliment.

As an ex-waitress,yourself, you'll probably appreciate that anecdote.

Heather Robinson said...

Oh and to you, dear Suzamahtoozonruze. Miss you.

Heather Robinson said...

And to you Elizabeth. Thank you for the thoughtful reply.

Heather Robinson said...

Remi had not one but two photo shoots so it was pretty much me sitting around moping! Save for a smattering of cooking which did me good.

Heather Robinson said...

Sister, I just listened to it because I thought "Oh, Eve Ensler, this should be interesting" but it was amazing, thought-provoking and moving. I give it the thumbs up!

Heather Robinson said...

Because it is always unique maybe? And all we have to do is just take it in.

Heather Robinson said...

So glad you liked it! I almost sent it to you but know what a busy bee you are these days.

Heather Robinson said...

28?! How wonderful Penelope. I will look forward to reading all about it! And how right you are on every single point. I forget sometimes to just keep it simple but the puppers never do!!!

Heather Robinson said...

Of course I loved that story. A very fine compliment, indeed. I hope the evening went as well as you could have wished it to, David.

And I love that program. Unlike French women, I hate to iron. And of course because we don't have a dryer, I have to iron everything. This podcast is my life-saver. I put it on and struggle to listen over the steam and am inspired and learn. I thought Eve Ensler was absolutely incredible in her vision and delivery of what she believes, just as you noticed yourself. And seriously? Anyone who is doing that kind of work in the Congo is just fine by me.

Lanier Smith said...

Much love from Babylon By The Bay.

Heather Robinson said...

Sending it right back from the Gardens of Allah, Arles branch. ;p

Marsha Splenderosa said...

Penelope has it exactly right! She is beautiful and she is wise. Live life as a dog lives. How much simpler can it get, yet it's so profound. Someone said long ago that dogs don't need to talk, they have ESP. Only humans need to talk, everything else has evolved beyond words. LIVE LIFE every single day, have only good intentions, pardon everyone (we can't help it if they're stupid or uninformed) and dress WAY up.

penelopebianchi said...

Marsha is right!! DRESS WAY UP!!!

I AM LOVING READING ABOUT everyone dressing way up!!! Finally!! "Slobbovia" is going out of style!!!

Silke Bauer said...

While listening to the interview with Eve Ensler I got aware of the scepticism I had in the beginning, keeping for myself the position of the self-conscious western woman formed by the gender theories of the nineties as I realized:

This is not at all about it. She is talking about something much more real and there is no theoretic meta-level I need to uncover and I'd better be listening to it without bias, otherwise I'd miss something important.

And that is about how far ignorance and suppression can go. We all need to refocus sometimes and
open up that window from our "train train quotidien" in order to see the essential things of live.

Et dans ce contexte, les conjugaison des verbes français se transforme en quelquechose de très delicieux (;

david terry said...

Dear "Silke bauer".....I'm glad to read that I'm not the only one who was (to use your term) "skeptical" during the initial moments/minutes of that interview. Of course, I was fascinated and moved by Ensler's words/thoughts within ten minutes.

By the end of the interview, it occurred to me that I was runing the risk (at this age) of becoming, if not exactly a lazy critic & listener, a complacent one.....letting critical habits take precedence over critical instincts. As I previously wrote, it's EASY to cariacture Ensler.

I'm glad that you, as I did, kept listening and realized that Ensler is saying and writing important things.
---david terry

Silke Bauer said...

Hi David, you made a good point there. My english is sometimes too limited to get right to the point. So thank you for the reply.
Best wishes,