Monday, July 11, 2011

Entre Nous

1. Thank you so much for all of the positive feedback on the blog changes! 

2. This post is a bit long, but if you have the time, hopefully you will enjoy what I have to say!

I finally finished the book Entre Nous by Debra Ollivier. I say "finally" as in, I finally made time to sit down and read!
Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl
I really loved this book. It has some really great insight into many eye-opening details on how Americans view life verses Parisians.

Here are a few little tips I am hoping to take with me!

Tip 1: Use more discretion
"The French girl understands that even the smallest gesture is a choice,"
(p. 7)

How many times have you done something, and then immediately justified it or blamed it on someone or something else? We are all adults here, (or at least hopefully on our way to becoming one) so shouldn't we "man up" and take responsibility for our actions? Or, maybe we should think before we do something stupid?
Using discretion also involves the art of tactfully saying NO.  How many times have you told someone "yes" when you immediately wished you had said "no"? I am one of those people that most people can see right through. They see that I am genuinely a nice person, who is willing to go above and beyond on some tokens, and use this to their own personal advantage.  Just because you want to be nice, or be liked does not mean you have to please everyone. Remember, you will never make everyone 100% happy every time. Don't get dragged into someone else's drama or mess. Just say "non"!

Lesson Learned:
"The French girl is brought up to be polite, but she is not necessarily brought up to be a good girl... that Anglo-Saxon imperative to be liked (and be like everyone else) is not high on her list."

Tip 2: Savor your meals

Did you know:
  • The French still eat meals as a family (forget rushing to soccer practice or watching les Simpsons)
  • A French meal typically lasts 2-3 hours of mouth savoring deliciousness
  • Dinner hour is typically 8:00
  • The French have a mandatory 35-hour work week. Jealous?

The French find that things that come packaged or canned are a faux pas! In France there are plenty of local and fresh farmer's markets to choose the best ingredients from. French meals are planned around what is available, not what can be made in a "quick and easy" fashion or simply pulled out of a freezer and then popped into an oven. (Think: Go Local!) Eating is meant for enjoyment, not as a chore. Take time to savor the process of cooking and eating an actual meal. Oh, and if you actually take time to enjoy your food, you will more than likely eat slower, which will help you to eat smaller portions. So leave your diet at home and eat what you want, in moderation.

Lesson Learned:
"She will make what is ripe, ready, flourishing--and she will often cook by hand, by smell, by scratch..."
(p. 111)

Tip 3: Don't Be Afraid!
"There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees,"

The French have their opinions, and they are not afraid to show it! Oh, and another faux pas? You will never hear the French talk about their work life. Work is meant for (and stays) at work. Life outside of work is meant for playing and conversing. (Think: Having a real conversation!)

The French favor what is real, and forget "Southern Hospitality." The French highly doubt your "have a great day" attitude. It's not that they are trying to be rude, but they don't know why you should put so much energy or effort into someone else's day. If you have a great day, that is your choice. How they spend their day is not really your business. Plus, how genuine were you really being all those times you said "Have a Great day" when what you really wanted to say was: "Go *&$# yourself" instead? 

Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

Remember, it's about being genuine. Be nice, but don't say something you don't really mean, and treat everyone with respect. On the same token, don't be rude to someone just because it is their job to "serve" you. Actions speak SO much louder than words! Oh, and also, just be careful. Remember that not everyone appreciates to hear your constant opinion about everything at all times, particularly if it is a personal attack on that person! 

Tip 4: Take more time for yourself
"Real life is deep and complex and slowly cannot experience those fundamental things, or true pleasure in life, without taking your time"

Just like slowing down and taking time to enjoy your meals, take time to enjoy your life. As John Lennon would say: "Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans". Everything will work out the way it was meant to in the end. Just, "Let it be"!

Another thing you won't see in France? Large groups or cliques out in public. The French savor all aspects of their life, including their friends. They tend to only have a few confidants, not a large group or "gang". The open door hospitality we have in the U.S. is very unheard of in Paris. The French only let in those who they know they can trust after years of acquaintance. Aside from that, the French actually enjoy being alone. They go to museums, or even to lunch alone, and they are perfectly fine with that fact, merci beaucoup! It's all about being comfortable and happy with yourself and embracing your uniqueness, not trying to hide it!

Lesson Learned:
"People who know how to employ themselves always find leisure moments, while those who do nothing are forever in a hurry”-Marie Jeanne Roland

Thanks for sticking with it! Hope you found some life lessons that may be relevant to your own life, and if not, thanks for stopping by anyway!


Claire said...

i definitely need to take more time for myself. now that i have the two girls, man, it's so hard! and i love the idea of savoring your meal. a 2-3 hour dinner sound divine!

Claudia Lane said...

Love the new look Jess!
And love all your quotes
Claudia xo

{The Perfect Palette} said...

Loving the new look!

xoxo, chrissy from the perfect palette

Danielle said...

these are some great lessons - adding the book to my list now! thanks for sharing!

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

great lessons! for me right now i need to learn how to stop, breathe, smell the roses and live in the moment!

Jenna Lee said...

Wow! I love all of these lessons! The sayings are great! Very thoughtful

Thank you for the sweet blog visit!

Meg {henninglove} said...

hey! i'm your newest follower. i love this post it reminds me of the important things in life, no TV show is too important to rush through dinner with the family, food must be savored not scarfed down and friends and family will help you and pick you up in life when it gets tough, thanks for the reminders! meg

SunnyToast said...

Love this is really good!

Your lines are inspirational:) thank you for sharing!

Your new follower hope you follow back:)

Susan said...

Jess this is really a fantastic post! I definitely want to pick up this book now, for sure. I love the lessons learned, those are so important! I am definitely going to print this post out and stick it somewhere to remind myself of what's really important. Great ideas!

Nikki said...

The French sure do know how to live right? I need to take more time, and learn when to keep my mouth shut. Especially around a few family memebers ;)

Anonymous said...

All such great lessons and things I need to remember!

Kristy said...

Gah! This post is exactly what I needed to read this week. I've had such a shitty few weeks (boy troubles, moving, etc) and I just loved this post. Thank you for sharing! xx

Whitney said...

love the waiter quote. truth!