Articles in Trends
A while ago, I was visiting Gean’s blog when I noticed an intriguing banner: “Lend $25, change a life. Get $25 back and lend it again. Change another life.” I clicked on the banner and I was directed to Kiva.
I learned that Kiva’s mission was to: “empower individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe”.
Every day I thank the language Gods for the invention of the pronoun “you” in English. No matter who you talk to, whether it’s your boss, your in-laws, a close friend or a perfect stranger, it’s a no-brainer: just say “you”.
It’s not a given, you know. A lot of languages have two ways of saying “you”: French has “tu” and “vous”, much like Spanish has “tú” and “usted”, Portuguese has “tu” and “você” and Chinese has “你” and “您”.
It’s only when I showed up at Starbucks that I realized I had no idea how to order in French. And ordering my coffee in English in Montréal would look back, wouldn’t it. But I needed coffee: this is a working weekend for me and I haven’t had much sleep the last few days.
When I exited The Bay, he was standing here, playing the harmonica. I stood here for a minute, looking at him. I grabbed the camera which was slung over my shoulder and our eyes met briefly. He nodded, still playing. He first slowly turned on his side to show me the cat perched on his shoulders, safe from my camera’s peering eye. I smiled and waited. Eventually, he looked straight into my eyes. I snapped two pictures quickly, gave him a couple of bucks and walked away.
In France, the saying goes that “le client est roi”. But in fact, the customer is anything but a king: at best he is an idiot, a minor annoyance in your day. As this funny article on “How to play the French service game … and win” explains: “The customer is king. But we all know what they did to their royal family. The guillotined head of Louis XVI bounced across the Place de la Concorde as a few thousand Parisians laughed at it”.
The more I attend classes at university, the more I feel like I belong in a museum. The big museum of failed and forgotten ideals. Move along, nothing to see here.
After shooting the torch relay, I decided to stay downtown and to have a look at the night festivities on Parliament Hill. By the time I got there, I learned from two ladies (pictured below) that they would only start after sunset… I wasn’t going to sit on the cold waiting, like them, for a few hours. I headed to Chapters and grabbed a hot coffee.
Today, the Olympic Torch of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics arrived in Ottawa and it traveled all over the city. I walked to Bank Street and waited patiently with the next torch bearer for the current bearer to arrive.
When I stepped outside the house for a last smoke, right after midnight, I caught sight of a shadow on the sidewalk. A young woman was standing there, looking in my direction.
I was absolutely unaware of our reputation abroad until I started traveling. Then, I realized that the French were said to have this little je né sais quoi. In plain language: French were libertine, were doing it all the time, routinely had several mistresses and lovers and had a god-given talent for romance.