Saturday, 26 January 2013

I'm from here, actually ( or how to feel good in your own country)

I LOVE being french as long as I'm the only french around........

It's so cool to be French. You can be called arrogant, always angry, greedy with food .  you don't care, you don't have to fucking live there!

But when you do, you realise how fucking true it all is.

I can t watch the news without being angry and ask more angry people why others are so angry..... They still fight about Sarkozy ( did anyone tell them he was gone or I became as good as the Brits in politics)
Why do you have to drink wine with every meal ( and close down all the shops for lunch time)
I’m still recovering from the frogs and snails I had for Xmas. Why eat that????

And why am I asking all those questions since I’m supposed to be ONE OF THEM?

Citizen of the world it is!

The thing is.... I don't see the point of being french in my own country. ( same as I still don't understand why you need to marry someone from your own country, when you don't actually need a visa to stay in that country ? Why make your life so complicated??? )

Plus , my “Made in France” tattoo does not make me sexy here, it makes me bloody nationalist.

Why did I come back to live here again?

Ze book. Yes, I wrote a book . A small step for humanity a huge one for blondes. Of course in French ( the English one should follow)

The material proof of my travels. A book. Written by me. Oh so proud.

But still the most asked question when you live in your Home town is “ So , are you still NOT married?”

Then you learn to be humble .

God knows that book made me travel already.

I wrote it in 5 different countries around the world, including a Thai monastery with one power point to plug in my lap top ( next to Buddha) . To make the money to publish it I went through various jobs ( all lost to this day)  and starvation ( but I'm still a D cup I don't know how to explain that one)
Now I've got to face my own country  ( forget starvation) , to sell it  ONE BY ONE since we’re not in book shops.

If I don't make it as a writer, you can write '' at least she tried'' on my grave.

My goal is to sell the first 200 and then do what I do best. GO TRAVELING.
(I started Mid November , I sold more than half already. No I did not give ANY for free. I’m a big girl now. Maybe I swapped one for a taxi ride to the airport once but... It does not count...right?  )

I was having a hard time fitting into my own country when I saw the blog of an Aussie girl I met in England who is currently living in France.

Hilarious . She 's living life to the fullest enjoying croissants, Christmas markets, mulled wine, chatting to random french people, discovering she had a liver ( France is the only country where I can actually feel my liver)  .... Exactly the way I would do it, ANYWHERE ELSE in the world. In the mean time I’m crying like a baby watching Sydney NYE fireworks on TV ( I was there last year.....) . Imagine me on Australia Day ( shit, it’s today)

Life is fun when you're traveling huh. ( nostalgy)

Hang on, this girl is in the SAME country as me! But for me, it’s the country of serious, fitting in and play by the rules. Knowing me...... I wonder how I managed to live  here the last 2 months and a half...... And still have no fake boyfriend , no house in the countryside and no prestigious job that people would admire me for.

No, this time, I’m being strong(er) But I stopped traveling ....

When do you know when you stop traveling?

Your attitude changes, mate.

When you look at it, I haven't changed much :

-I'm still talking, writing about traveling and changing the world.

- I still take pictures of random stuff and chat to random people ( a woman asked me what she should get her dog for Xmas the other day. I answered love)

-My backpack is still half full in a corner of my room, I own 2 pairs of jeans, 1 jumper, several tops and 3 pairs of shoes ( thank you Lumi and English second hand shops)

- People keep asking me “ How long are you staying with us for?”

-I have no money

CONCLUSION : I 'm still traveling !!!

I’m just traveling in my own country for a while.

Obviously when you start changing your attitude, your life starts to change too.

Selling my book led me to a girl's place for afternoon coffee. We had met a few hours at a boring meeting for English teachers back in the years.
We started to randomly speak English so her 2 year old son would pick up.

Oh so cool to talk about private things in a supermarket without anyone understanding much of anything you're saying. (Only in France can you speak English so privately...)

Gradually I felt like I was backpacking again... in my home town.

The news slowly stopped to annoy me. Why? I stopped watching  !

I started to fascinate several people with this weird life of mine. (You ve got to accept being weird first) . I usually accept it in the rest of the world so why not here.

Anyway , when people read the book with all my fuck ups , the will know who I am ( and even how many guys I had in my life in a year)

I sell books to ladies  at my gym classes , at the English Club I go to.

I know they read the book when , the following week I go back and all they say is “You” ..... and laugh.

It’s ok to sit with strangers who know your whole life actually ( when you do love your life)

“ So where are you from?” tells me the hot guy on the other end of the table at the English Club the other night.
I felt like I was backpacking in Asia again so I surprised myself answering :

“ I’m from here , actually” I had never said that in English before. We all knew where Vesoul , my home town was because we were almost all from here !  So proud. Until the next question .

“ Where do you live ?”


“Couch surfing at my parents” seemed the coolest idea.

Not so good eventually.

But I was myself.  It’s so cool to be yourself AND be from “ here” ( big first time for me!)

So the best way to feel good when you stop traveling is....... to keep traveling anyway.

Who can stop you other than yourself anyway? 

PS :Watch how awesome  your own country looks through your eyes of citizen of the world? 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Why the french complain so much ( merde) ...

France is the country of good food, good wine , style, love, passion , freedom, great views , the best healthcare in the world, cheapish houses, dog shits...
So why are all these french people STILL complaining ? And what are they complaining about?

We usually  complain about 2 things that go well together:

First, The government. That's a good one. Politics is the main subject of conversation in France because it will always be something to complain about. Something to go against and to fight for.
The socialists will be criticized by the conservatives and the conservatives by... most.

The last 5 years were the happiest days of french complaining.

 Under Sarkozy we had most of the country ashamed to be french and now that he's gone , all our famous people are leaving to not pay taxes in France ( and graduallly  become Russian , Belgian , Swiss, English.) Mind you , one wants to move out because the government is failing to protect 2 elephants from getting killed. All that is making the French even more ashamed to be French.

So is being french something to be ashamed of or do we REALLY complain for no reason?

Obviously the second thing we complain about is money. But we refuse to work extra hours or on Sundays.
Or everyday between 12 and 2. Or pay more taxes. It's all the government's fault anyway.

The other day , I was looking at a blog from an Aussie friend who currently lives in France , she does not seem to have a minute to complain about elephants, taxes that are too high or the weather . Travelling from North to South , eating all the good regional stuff and meeting cool french people on the way, sharing anything they have with her.

Now THAT is France. That's it. I remember France. From traveling. All my foreigner friends admiring me for being french. Classy , romantic ( yeah right) . And how they LOVED visiting my country. Paris , Monnet, croissants, Champagne, Montmartre, Moulin Rouge, Champs Elysées, Amour , vin rouge ...

So... The only positive image I have from my country comes from.... FOREIGNERS?

Mmmmmm .... I wonder why......

 When you ask my people, the French,   why they complain so much , they kindly reply " to leave a better world to the next generation" . Where would the world be without passionnate fighters like the French?

And If they knew they only had to ask foreigners to realise they ALREADY are living in a better world but they fail to see it, they would still complain because  they just love it  , and that 's how , in the end,  the world knows and loves the French....

Bonne journée


Sunday, 6 January 2013

You drink what you eat ( or how to pick the wine)

In France , we drink that weird sort of water WITH every  meal on a daily basis. It's usually red or white and tastes of fermented grapes.

" One glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away" says a french proverb.

I wonder why we still have doctors over here , because EVERYONE seems to follow that saying.

I had my first taste of wine I was like, 8. And already I learnt how to pick the color, region according to the the type of food on the plate.If you don't or this is an insult to the food, the wine and the friends you have invited.

Wine and food = BIG DEAL. in France

To the people who are still looking for the " what wine with what type of food" dictionnary , give up on looking. I think it's an oral tradition. " This type of meat goes better with a sweet white" said great grand dad , and grand dad never questionned and passed it on.

I'd love to tell you but.... Living in other countries wipped off my french memory.

 I left to live in England  where we tend to drink ANY type of wine ( aka "house" wine)  as a starter and THEN ( after , maybe, depending on how sober you still are ) you eat. No sacred link between wine and food there ,other than " you have to eat before you get hammered because you could be really sick.

Then I went to Australia , where you put ice cubes in good red wine to cool it off before the "Barbie"

Living abroad , I've learnt that 1/ wine was not a sacred thing everywhere in the world 2/ good wine can be other than french. But please don't tell the French when you get there.
Their ego won't cope.

If you're at the restaurant, EASY. Just ask politely " What type of wine would go with this food sir? ( because Madam won't know")

If you want to bring wine over to your friend's place for dinner , you HAVE TO ask them what's for dinner  first because you need to match the wine to the food. So , that spoils the surprise for dinner and you already know that you re going to hate the food AND you also have to bring a wine you hate to match it.

All I remember about matching is  :

Fish = white wine
Red= red meat

Once you pass the color test, you now have to take the region test . Burgundy, Bordeaux, Jura....
 Then it's usually about the personal tastes of the person who invites you. Get wrong and hurt your friend who 's going to throw the bottle somewhere in his " cave à vins"  ( wine cave) waiting to meet a friend whom he can give it to and probably will never invite you again. Oh and there is the age too. The older the better ( and the most expensive too) . But sometimes it can be TOO old. But you can't know BEFORE you open the bottle so you have to buy it and wish for the best.

My conclusion to all this :
If you're invited by some french people in France then  show up with champagne , which solves every problem ( other than : "Shall we drink it as an "aperitif" before dinner or with the dessert?" )

The french love their food and wine , and they especially love to share it with new people. So basically , all you have to do is to show up , sit down with them for 3 hours and.... ENJOY.

( But if you still want to know more about wine and food I recommend this link!)

Now let me have a good old mulled wine ( you can have it with biscuits or on its own. You'll be drunk in no time anyway)

Bon Appétit,

Facebook : Strolling frog
Twitter: @frogrenouille

(pictures by me!)

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Bon appétit ... WHAT? AGAIN?

Food traditions never stop in my country. After snails for Xmas eve  frogs on Xmas day ,
champagne and "petit fours" on New Year's eve and Foie Gras on New Year's day, on the first Sunday of January we eat " La galette des rois'' ( called the King cake)  you will note that the Sunday usually starts on the Thursday before and ends the following Saturday.

The king cake is here to remind us of the biblical 3 kings and the tradition of epiphany ( in other we don't givea crap about why , it's just another reason to sit down and eat)
It consists of flaky puff pastry layers with a dense center of frangipane. Tradition holds that the cake is “to draw the kings” to the Epiphany. A figurine, la fève, which can represent anything from a car to a cartoon character, is hidden in the cake and the person who finds the trinket in their slice becomes king for the day and will have to offer the next cake.
I remember my grand father used to swallow it, just to NOT buy the next cake.
Obviously , who had it today? Who is the only penniless  misfit in this family? The one who still does not feel completely french ( and still feels like she's in the movie Amélie after being back for 2 months?) ME! At least I'm the only strolling Queen of THIS country. Yes we do have to wear the crown...

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Monday, 31 December 2012

Thanks for following my adventures and supporting my blog in 2012 
All the best to you in2013  all over the world! 

Follow me on facebook "strolling frog" 

and on twitter @frogrenouille

Friday, 16 November 2012

Everywhere you go, there YOU are !

''You're from where? Vozool?''

'' No , VE-SOUL''

'' Where the hell is that? By the sea? ''

'' No, it's in the East''

The french lady I'm talking to is staring at me like I'm a bloody foreigner. Let me think. That's about HOW I FEEL anyway.

'' I 've never heard about Vee-zool'' she replies naturally.

Yes, it's way easier to be French in a foreign country ( even in England) than being from VESOUL in your own country. At least , everyone knows where France is.

Try Vesoul....

Yes, I did move back to my country, FRANCE. How many of you thought I would not do it?

You know I like challenges. But this one was about as hard as working an a farm with scorpions and wild pigs in the Malaysian jungle with no electricity for 10 days.

10 days in France....

I've done about everything a foreign tourist would have done at my place. Except that I AM NOT a foreign tourist.

I'm a totally stupid blonde who seems to have never taken the train , bought a baguette with Euro coins or sit in a restaurant eating for more than 10 minutes.

Yes, I did have to read the menu in English because I did not understand the words in French. ( I was drunk too )

Why so complicated ?

'' delicat Poisson et sa  legere sauce aux marrons' ( delicate fish and its light chestnut sauce) ' is still just bloody fish in your plate, innit .

And they did not even have snails or frogs.And they call themselves F**** French.

When you ask what the point of all this fuss is to the guy who kindly invited you to one of the best restaurants in town , you look like a total bitch.

Best excuse : '' Sorry , I ve lived in England for so long''

( Appologies almost accepted . That was close)

And how many kinds of bread do they have anyway. So you basically need 10 minutes to go buy your bread in this country.

They even ask you how long you want your baguette baked for.

Helloooooo I just want BREAD.

Let's face it, I have totally lost my Frenchness.

The worst thing is? I can't even watch a political debate for more than 2 minutes without getting totally freaked out.

'' Why are these people so angry?'' I ask the same poor guy , whom I happen to live with . ( I'll give him a medal one day , he does deserve it but don't tell him that , he could take it seriously , he's french, you see)


Mmmm even that sentence was too much for me .

'' OUR WHAT?''

This is not really something we mention much in England you see... These emotions thingy.

I told you once that there was such a thing as '' National Energy'' . That I get sucked in to it wherever I go ( '' The citizen of the world '' syndrom)

It results in either a '' wow, Annabelle, how do you capture the Spirit and understand the culture of a country so well?''

OR that :


'' Annabelle, you are WAY too emotional, you should see someone about it''

France :

'' Annabelle, You have big problems expressing your emotions , you should see someone about it''

The prefect balanced place should then be....... SOMEWHERE BETWEEN FRANCE AND ENGLAND


Australia :

'' Chill out mate , let's go to the beach''

When people ask me where I want to live , I DON T KNOW WHAT TO SAY !

Seriously I was totally lost for 10 days.

It's like I was not totally in a foreign country as I was able to speak the language ( although I ordered my sushi in English in the local japanese restaurant , which probably made the guy 's like so much simpler) but I totally missed the point of it all.

I felt like I lost my memory and I pretended ( very badly) to remember it all.

No, I did not care about good food, good wine or politics. I was still a Brit in the inside.

When you go abroad, you always compare your own country to the country you're in ( Something about insecurity) . Normal.

But when you catch yourself saying '' You french people are weird because in my country....''  and you still have MADE IN FRANCE tattooed on your neck, you simply look like you're going mad ( As a writer , everyone knows how mad I already am anyway, so it's cool)

What country was I talking about? Depends on my mood.... England..... Australia..... No , I did not miss the past in those 2 countries, one of my strong point is in the moving on but  I just totally lost my landmarks... in my own country.

Believe me or not, I finally settled back in. ( until I had to go to Paris for one whole hour but that'll be another story) I went back to being my good old French self .

Hang on a minute. That's the same one as in England. Or Australia. Or anywhere. I m exactly the same person.... 


Everywhere you go, here YOU are........... 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Learn French , buy my book :)

My first book " Strolling Frog"  is finally available to buy online. So I'm doing what I do best when something important happens . I go travelling. This time, in my own country. Maybe I will eat those frogs eventually. Anyway if you speak and like french or knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who does, order it online wherever you live . Cheers :)