Friday, February 26, 2010

Guess What?

More birds, that's what! Toying with the idea of making plush objects that double as decorative throw pillows, I came up with this flock. They're in the shop.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Today I bumped my head on the kitchen cabinet and remembered that, hey, I still have to close this blog!

I'm sorry not to have kept my promise to blog regularly, but to catch up I'll tell you that one of April's highlights was a trip to Brussels, where I learned that there are four things for a tourist to do: look at the pissing boy, ogle the pissing girl, chance upon the pissing dog, and get pissed on Belgian beer.
Being absolute tourists on a Brussels street.

May promises to be exciting, as I'm doing my very first crafts show! Free Market Montpellier, according to my friend E, is "hyper branché." Meaning very hip, modern, and as close to indie as you can get in these parts, so I'm quite excited. Any one of you who'll be in the area, please drop by. I'm thinking of doing a fairytale setting for my stand. Let's see how that goes.

Provenciana, the book version of this blog, if all goes as planned is coming out in August.

I'm putting together a mailing list for readers of this blog who want to be informed of the book launch details. To be included in the mailing list and receive news of the launching and where the book can be bought, please send an e-mail to I swear not to share your details with anyone. You can also send me e-mail there just to say hi :)

And so, what now? I'm still blogging, but not about personal stuff anymore. Strange, but one of the reasons why I feel cannot continue Provenciana is that, while I can go on and on about myself and my husband here, I am very hesitant to write about my friends in a public space. It somehow feels like betraying confidences.

La Pomme is where I write about my crafts, and also where I will be posting updates about my writing. If you ever miss me, visit me there! No more angsting, I'm sorry, but I will try to make up for it by posting nice pictures.

Again, thank you for all the support. It has been an active and very memorable two and a half years!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Asian Stereotypes

When I speak to them in their language, people here tend to ask me if I am really an Asian from Asia. In the beginning the question perplexed me, until I finally got it. Apparently us Asians from Asia are not supposed be very quick up there where it counts, and are supposed to spend years and years speaking only broken French.

When they see that I am married to a white man, some people tend to think that I am Thai, because if you're Asian married to a white man, then you must be a pute. Why? Because all the travelling these ignorant few have ever done is a cheap hop over to Thailand, staying in the red-light districts, where most of the Thai girls they met were engaged in the world's oldest trade and working the afams (Filipino for "foreigner").

When I'm in an outdoor market or an antiques fair, I often lose my head and spend too much money. Looking at my Asian face and then the euros in my hands, people here tend to ask, "You are Japanese?"

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Not Funny, But Good Just The Same

It's been almost three years since I decided to move here permanently, and it must be said that one of the hardest things for me to deal with was the absence of girl friends of my own. I hung out with some females from my husband's group, but of course it was not the same. I found his people a little bit too serious, a little bit too straight, not able to laugh very easily.

I kept telling my husband that I missed the lightness of spirit of the Filipina. If you want a visual handle, think a gaggle of beautiful brown girls on a night out, in a café or a restaurant, telling stories in loud voices, laughing often, and even occasionally screeching in delight. That you won't find very easily in France. Actually there were times that when I attempted to screech, I was shushed.

"Les Françaises sont lourdes!" I would whine, complaining about Frenchwomen being hard to deal with.

Fast-forward to now, when how it goes in our couple is that my husband goes out mainly when I have organized something within my own circle. I have found my footing, and as is my nature I am again a very social animal with a very short list of real friends but a significantly longer list of great acquaintainces.

Even though this group is rarely rowdy and you would never really use the word "gaggle" to describe them, they do have a lot of other things going for them. You would not think of them as "girls," they're women. That means that they are stoic and stubborn, often opinionated and admirably strong, sometimes too practical for my taste, but at least always able to look at life without blinking and do what is necessary.

That may all sound very boring, but no. I like it. It appeals to the get-over-it-and-get-a-grip side of me.

And, oh, I do still screech in their company whenever the urge takes over me, and while my friends may not be making the same enthusiastic noises, they also do know how to laugh. Just not very very loudly.

Language Theory

I have a theory that goes that as thefrayles raped our great-grandmothers, they so traumatized the young lasses that the girls' tongues were in some strange way permanently blocked and malformed, a trauma so deep it was encrypted into their genes, and thus was the malformation passed on to the succeeding generations; which is how I explain the many many times people have asked me, hearing the accent in my French, "Hey, are you Spanish?"

My usual wry response: "Yeah, I sure do look like I am, don't I?"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Things Put In Perspective

I've moaned and groaned about the difficulties of being a thirtysomething career girl from Manila used to a fast-paced city life moving to a sleepy village in the south of France where opportunities for editors in English are almost nonexistent; and then I watched Va, Vis et Deviens and realized I've had it easy.

It's the story of a young Christian boy from Ethiopia who, to escape the misery of a Sudanese refugee camp, had to leave his mother behind, pretend to be some other woman's son, go to Israel, and once there pretend to be Jewish, a black Falasha, the adopted son of a white Leftist family. It's a complex and wonderfully unpredictable film. And one of my favorite things about it is that though the subject matter may be heavy, the treatment of it was not. The film made me smile as many times as it bothered me.

You don't have to have uprooted yourself to enjoy this film, I swear. If you're a little tired of you-so-know-how-it's-going-to-turn-out-just-thirty-minutes-in Hollywood movies, watch this. By director Radu Mihaileanu (how do you pronounce that?). English title, Live and Become.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Random Thought

I'm so far away, but the Internet always makes me feel so close to home--sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes it's really bad. I read this blog that I shouldn't really be reading because it just makes me feel I want to take a shower. (Think violated girl in a Pinoy film scrubbing herself while sobbing, "Ang dumi ko... ang dumi-dumi...") I feel for the blog author, really I do; and I swear I hardly know the people involved, but let me just say that, Hey, come on now, who Mr. Yap chooses to fornicate with and where he chooses to do it is absolutely none of our business.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Life Happening


I'm here. I'm writing, sewing, gardening, launching a couple of new business ventures. The feelings I hinted at in this post showed to me very clearly that the adjustment pains are over. I am a foreigner in France -- I will always be, and it's a fact I actually relish -- but here I have managed to make for myself the creative and independent, low-impact but high-satisfaction life that I was unable to have in Manila, largely because the city was young and volatile, and so was I.

When I moved here for good in 2005, I was often overwhelmed by new sensations and very strong emotions. And because words have always helped me make sense of the world, language the filter I use to clean up messy sentiments, I began this blog. Provenciana was meant to be a tool to help me regain control, and it has served its purpose very well.

This blog helped me understand the shock of cultural adjustment that I was going through. In the process it helped me win that most coveted of writer's prizes in the Philippines. In the near future, it will also put me where all writers want to be -- on the bookshelves. Provenciana, the blog, will become Provenciana, the book. I will post details here at a later date.

Having the book published will be a wonderful farewell to this piece of cyberspace.

Yes, I am closing the blog down. I was already talking about it in this post from July of last year. Maya told me that I would know when to do it, and I know that it is now. Taking the idea from little birds handmade, it will be a month-long farewell. Beginning this coming week, I will be posting very regularly, talking about the details of my daily life, to find out where exactly all the adjustment angst has taken me. Then sometime in mid-April, I will stop posting.

It has been a wonderfully productive two years and a half. Thank you all for keeping me company!