February 2013
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Things that Happen on a Parisian Run

Racing along the Canal...

It’s Sunday, and that meas a long run day.  You’re running a half-marathon distance through Paris.  That’s about 21 kilometers (13 miles).  Your shoes are tied, your iPhone is recording your distance, the music is pumping through your headphones, and the sun is just peeking through the morning haze overhead.  Some things happen as you run along…

You start following people.  It becomes easier to run when pacing off someone else, but this practice quickly becomes stalker-like once you find someone with a good pace.  You end up following them all the way up the Canal and it’s kind of awkward, almost like eyeing someone in the metro or in a club.  “Is he into me?” you think.  No, he just wants my stride, too.  Can’t blame him, I guess.

You realize that the French still don’t get it.  The weird looks never stop, but it seems that the French maintain running is best left for somewhere else.  Where?  Not sure.  But they refuse to get out of your way, making the least bit of effort to liberate sidewalks or paths when they clearly see you barreling towards them.  Fine, but do they have to blow the cigarette smoke at me as I run past?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

6 Steps for Holding a French Meeting

Try to hold your meeting somewhere pretty

For those of you lucky enough to attend a French meeting or conference at a school, business, or cultural event, feel free to chime in at any point (well, in the comments).  For the rest of you, it’s time for a crash course in how to hold the most authentic French meeting possible.

Are we presenting a research project?  A marketing proposal?  An academic program?  It doesn’t matter, the rules are more or less the same.  If you’re going to have a group of people attend a gathering and listen to you or someone else speak, here is the definitive guide of how to do it à la francaise.

1)  Don’t plan ahead: The most important thing is to be as scattered as possible when the meeting begins.  There is no reason to begin as indicated in any previous communication.  Start-times are a mere notion of when to arrive and sip coffee while watching the organizer wonder why nothing is prepared or why another meeting is also scheduled in the same space at the same time.