samedi 25 avril 2015

Repost from 2011: What is an "Expat"?

Nice, France google images

Who am I?

What am I? Expat? Refugee? Immigrant (certainly felt that way living on the weak and erratic dollar for the past 8 years)? Artist? Gringo? Defector? Adventurer? Long time resident of the French Riviera? An American who enjoys living France?

Below are two definitions of Expatriate that I found interesting:

*one who lives outside one’s own country; One who has been banished from one’s own country; To banish; to drive or force (a person) from his own country; to make an exile of; To withdraw from one’s native country; To renounce the rights and liabilities of citizenship where one is born …

*ex patriate – A person who has abandoned his or her country of origin and citizenship and has become a subject or citizen of another country. http://www.irishclaims/

Most of the Americans I have met, proudly call themselves Expats! The word itself has come to represent glamour, exotic choices, worldly intellegencia, café life… But you see, my problem is with the prefix!


When I think of “ex”-something…I think of EX-husbands, EX-friends, EX-boyfriends, EX-roommates…EX-change…uhh …oh…never mind… but I think you get the point.

In the mid eighties, I took a vacation to visit the beaches of the French Riviera. I fell in love….no… not with a Frenchman, I was already happily and firmly married…with the light and colors of the Mediterranean. From Monaco to Saint Tropez. I was captivated by the foods of the region, the markets, boutiques, the souk of Nice (the Old Town), the laid back pleasures of the South. The politesse of the population. I kept coming back to the area until my husband and I were able to move here in 1999. I sold my business, published my first novel, my husband retired, and we left Dodge City (New York City) to move to the sunny Côte d’Azur.


Who knows.

Am I an Expat?

I am an American.

An eighth generation American, female of African, Irish, Native American ancestry, who lives in France with my American spouse of Russian, Scottish, English ancestry, because we love the food, rocky beaches, cheaper travel options…and the National Healthcare System.

mercredi 22 avril 2015


J’en ai marre !!!!!

The tourist season has officially begun here on the French Riviera. What always arrives with the hordes is the inevitable and harsh criticism of French driving habits.

I’d like to intercept a bit with this blog before the Anglophones really start getting flagrant down here!

Everyone knows that anyone’s life can be irrevocably destroyed by an intoxicated or mentally disturbed driver on the road in any country by a driver of any nationality. My question is why have the French, in particular, been given such a bad rap as drivers?

I have been recipient many times of French driving hospitality. What I have found is that my French friends and acquaintances have displayed skill and grace at ever turn…so to speak. It’s no wonder, I later learned, considering what they have to go though in order to earn the privilege to drive in their country.

How may of you who have criticized the French actually studied for the French Permis de Conduire?

Too scared, right?

And I’m willing to bet…too broke!

Then, that means you don’t know bupkis about anything French.

Want to know how I came to this conclusion? Because it is expensive, difficult and studying for it would actually result in an evolution of thinking that would cause you to realise that you had no prior knowledge of what it takes to understand of the Gallic approach to manoeuvring safely through life in France. My philosophy is in order to criticize the French you should have been educated in France and taught by the French. How else can one understand the cultural nuances of a country which has the power to seduce millions of people through its doors, whether they be rich or poor, yellow green or blue, to a place which is probably the most complicated in all of Europe? Even people from rich and powerful countries are willing to test their fate in a country which for years will render them functional illiterates!

Years ago I took the driving school plunge…so I know of what I write.

I can’t overstate the fact that the pursuit of the French Permis de Conduire is an expensive, lengthy but profoundly informative study of the psychology of the French population. Believe me, studying this will enhance one’s relationships with the French people you encounter, do business with or with whom one becomes intimately involved. It will even enable one to distinguish a foreign driver from a French one.

Imagine that!

Case in point:

One sunny afternoon, a fellow student, who is also an American, and I left another gruelling session of La Code de la Route to stop at a corner café. As we approached the curb, a car came screeching towards us in a completely misguided attempt to park in a no parking zone.

Mr. America, hisses, ., “Look at that. After they get their permits, all rules fly out the window. How typically French!

My response was, “What makes you think the driver is French?”

He pointed to the French License plate on the Italian Fiat, and said, “Look… 06 (the code for the Alpes Maritimes)!”

As if on cue, two men emerge from the car, sharing a typically boisterous conversation in Italian!

Typically French, right?

So, this is the advice from yours truly…the Expat Curmudgeon Writer on the Côte d’Azur…to American drivers in France. Stop criticizing…stay alert and either take your bigotry and pack it in your little back packs and go back home… or just get off the road and take the friggin’n bus!

mardi 22 janvier 2013

Revisiting Our (American) Roots DJANGO :UNCHAINED

Finally got up the nreve to see it at the Cinema Rialto in the rue de Rivoli in Nice:

What did I think of it ?

Ridiculous.  But then so was Jackie Browne, Kill Bill 2 & 1.  So was Pulp Fiction. So was Killing Zoe.  So you see….I’ve been a fan of the ridiculous for quite some time.  In my opinion, Quentin Tarrentino has a unique way of blending the serious with the ridiculous which I enjoy and admire.

Writer and director ,Quentin Tarantino

The movie was way too long…but then, that’s probably his point.  Some things just go on way too long.
Filmmaker Spike Lee, Upset about something as usual; ajnd Jamie Fox

Historical accuracy?  Who cares.  Maybe there was no slavery. No European Holocaust.  No Bubonic Plague wagons. No Crusades.  Just a long history of loving warm populations all over the world inspiring one another toward greatness.  Cumbaya and all that.
Jamie Fox and Leonardo DiCaprio

In other words, I would highly recommend this movie to people …adult people…with strong stomachs AND a twisted sense of humor.
Leonardo with the fabulous Samuel L. Jackson
I would also say that this is his best movie so far.

mercredi 5 décembre 2012

Three Tips For Aspiring Writers

(google image)

1) If you are looking for commercial success, study the books on the bestseller lists.

2) If you are an artist, write what you want and study the craft.

3) Before publication studymartial arts because there will be all kinds of folks out there waiting to beat you up in dark alleys.

jeudi 7 juin 2012


This is a reprint of a blog I posted last year:


Recently an acquaintance of mine who lives in Germany commented on my blog concerning the “Chic of French Women.”

To encapsulate his quite lengthy response which was sent to me through my private email, he basically stated his opinion on what he felt was the self -deprecating tendency of American women to use facelifts as beauty enhancements in order to combat the aging process.

What came to mind was how ironic his opinion was considering the fact that we both live among the antiquities of Europe.

Image what living here would be like without the nips and tucks of European restoration efforts. The way I see it is that we’d all be living as if we were in the bowels of the slums of Cairo.


  Anyway....on another note:


"Never let a man tell you "you look so beautiful stirring the soup'"

                     ~Josephine Premice






samedi 19 mai 2012


(google images)

So, today I rand across this headline:


The feminist group La Barbe which started several years ago in response to the sexist media treatment of Segolene Royal in her race against Nicholas Sarkozy, has taken on one of the most sexist film establishments, the Cannes Film Festival for its exclusion of female directors from this year's competition. They are kind of like the Guerilla Girls in that they dress up in beards and as they say "crash high level meetings to protest male supremacy.")

This is my assessment of the situation:

Divide and Rule:

In politics and sociology, divide and rule (derived from Latin divide et impera) also known as divide and conquer is a combination of political, military and economic strategy of gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into chunks that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy. The concept refers to a strategy that breaks up existing power structures and prevents smaller power groups from linking up.

Elements of this technique involve:

creating or encouraging divisions among the subjects in order to prevent alliances that could challenge the sovereign

  • aiding and promoting those who are willing to cooperate with the sovereign
  • fostering distrust and enmity between local rulers
  • encouraging meaningless expenditures that reduce the capability for political and military spending

Historically this strategy was used in many different ways by empires seeking to expand their territories.

As a Black American let me give you Mother Africa as an example:

art by Ben Heine

The divide and conquer strategy was used by foreign countries in Africa during the colonial and post-colonial period.

Germany and Belgium ruled Rwanda and Burundi in a colonial capacity. Germany used the strategy of divide and conquer by placing members of the Tutsi minority in positions of power. When Belgium took over colonial rule in 1916, the Tutsi and Hutu groups were rearranged according to race instead of occupation. Belgium defined "Tutsi" as anyone with more than ten cows or a long nose, while "Hutu" meant someone with less than ten cows and a broad nose. The socioeconomic divide between Tutsis and Hutus continued after independence and was a major factor in the Rwandan Genocide.

Another example:

During British rule of Nigeria from 1900 to 1960, different regions were frequently reclassified for administrative purposes. The conflict between the Igbo and Hausa made it easier for the British to consolidate their power in the region.

  • Regional, ethnic, and religious splits remain a barrier to uniting Nigeria, today.

So, you see, my analysis of the Cannes film festival situation and the film industry in general is this: perhaps if we women weren’t so bogged down in ideological wars between Lesbians and Straights, none of this kind of thing would be happening... on such an international level, no less!.

Afterall, women are a majority group, right?

Talk to you later...