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 apollejano@gmail.com. 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?"