Thursday, 10 May 2012

The darker side of ze Frog ( vote for Unity)

Going back Home to France , in my little town of Vesoul. 20000 inhabitants , one chinese restaurant that ALSO serves baguette and frog legs. ( seriously)

We all know why I came back to my French last week end for the first time in 6 months. Family and friends? Nah.


In France last week end , there was that '' je ne sais quoi '' in the air. There was not good no bad , nothing to live or die for , no selfish or generous, no positive or negative , no old and young....

'' The old neighbour died '' .said my mum with a sad look on her face.

'' One less vote for Sarkozy'' said my dad seriously meaning it and counting the right wing voters who passed away since the last elections.

In France, last week end there was just LEFT OR RIGHT.

You're either a Hollande or a Sarkozy.If you say you're not either of them , chances are people will think you're a racist and you secretly vote for Marine Le Pen .

Election Sundays are really important for the older generation of French people. It's like tradition to go vote in your Sunday best.

I naturally fitted back in. I had make up on , a posh jacket , a black skirt and high heels.All that for a vote that will last 5 minutes

( this year about 7 minutes actually. Time to take pictures and download them to Facebook)

But that's your good deed for your country. Patriotism rules.

Not to mention how important you feel when the guy says '' has voted'' . It's like receiving an award for '' best citizen of the month'' .

Yes, we love traditions over here ( but we hate rules)
The tradition also wants that generous French citizens who are still half sober come to volunteer to count the votes for Ze republic.

Obivously , I ve been hired by my local ''bureau de vote'' ( that was also my kinder garden when I was a kid) .

I was the one saying the names out loud ( Everyone knows here I can t count. They read my blog )

For my greatest '' pleasure'' I said Nicolas Sarkozy 88 times . As many ''francois Hollande'' and 4 times ''Marine Le Pen'' . My neighbours are lovely. Thank God they have Alzheimer and forgot that the National Party was not part of the game this time.

So there I was , calling names and trying ( you know me) to stay neutral in front of a crowd of people from '' both sides'' .( and my parents waving at me , prouder than when I told them my book was getting published )

But we all know What ''side'' people are on. We ve known each other for years. So we blink to our side , and vaguely smile to the other while remaining neutral since ANYTHING could start a fight.

This year it was even funnier. The current president had made it illegal to show results on any social network and media before the legal time of 8pm( otherwise you ll get heavily fined). That was not really knowing what the french are REALLY capable of. .

at 6.30 pm French twitter was all about crypted messages like '' Gouda tastes good'' ( I'm sure other things taste as good in '' Holland'' but that was not the point. )
The lady next to me whispers a '' WE won in the French Pacific islands'' in my ear. The lady on my right reminds her that it is illegal to talk about it.
Annabelle, in the middle , smiling.

The one big winner of the french elections is usually Swiss TV. The tradition wants that we all watch Swiss TV ( who's happy to have a decisive role in French people's lives for 1 hour every 5 years) at 7pm they legally announce the poll results as an outsider.
7.59 pm. My parents had invited all their over 60 socialist friends. The atmosphere was almost as tensed as in the final minutes of a world cup against Italy.

8pm Our new President is called Francois Hollande. Aka '' Babar'' '' wild strawberry'' or Flamby.
 If you google the word '' flamby'' in France now you are very likely getting the following results ( maybe not in order )
1. French custard pudding
2. French president

Yes, he has the reputation to be on the soft. side. But hey , I personaly don't think so . I know he s got THE power within him. ( I can read people, remember?) But this power is not really well understood YET but it WILL BE. ( we're all working on it)

Anyway . My folks were as happy as the the day they got married. Last time I had a glass of champagne for the election of a socialist president was in 1981.

8.15pm I was totally drunk feeling and was defending Sarkozy . Saying something about compassion and not passing on anger or resentment because the aim is Peace, not Victory of one side over another............
'' I told you not to give her another glass'' my dad tells my mum who thought I really had been to Holland before coming.

Anyway , It was time for me to go back to my conservative leader and my Queen '' on the other side''
The funniest part was when I sat down with the Swiss and watched a replay of the french elections at the airport.

'' I came back To Switzerland for the week end just to have a laugh with my friends watching the french elections '' says the Swiss French guy next to me.

'' I think the French are hilarious. They are so projecting their own lives on to politics. '' he continues.

'' No. It's just because it IS important'' I say, on the defensive.

The replay was showing french people 's reaction to the election :

'' France is now ruined, I'm off to Switzerland , I can't bear to see my country like this . It makes me feel devastated '' said a girl crying out loud like she's lost mum and dad in a car crash.

A nother was saying :

'' WE ARE SAVED'' with a smile like their all her worries had now ended thanks to one person. Francois Hollande or the New Jesus.

'' See , I told you , the French are hilarious''

Damn. it IS hilarious seen from a neutral point of view , especially in Switzerland where they are not capable of having an opinion anyway.

Let's go home now he says as we were boarding the plane .

He obviously became my new Swiss friend Thierry... from London.

His bag was full os Swiss Chocolate , my bag full of Pains au chocolat.
We were returning Home to England.

'' So could you vote last Thursday then? he asks me.
'' The vote was yesterday I tell him, The tradition is Sunday and...
'' No, in England I mean.
WHAT? There was elections in ENGLAND when I was there ??? ' wondering where I ve been living the past month / years

'' Local elections'' He says giving me the Swiss look that meant '' You French people, get over yourselves''

Oh Dear. How can the french make so much ado about nothing and the English don't mention their own elections? The BBC was broadcasting HOURS of french elections recently and somehow forgot to mention their OWN ?

Typical British. And typical French.

Our countries reflect our government I suddenly started to think. The French are loud , arrogant and take everyhting personal while the Brits are so quiet they forget their own stuff while the Swiss are just laughing watching it all from a neutral point of view.

Or is it our government that shape our '' so called'' identities? Is that yet another attempt at trying to make us all feel different from each othe like it's a BAD THING?

It's not.

Here's me and Thierry now chatting about what really mattered to us. Travelling.and Life.Our Life. And OUR dreams, exchanging numbers to have another chat in London/ Brighton / anywhere in the world, just for the sake of being together or maybe we can even help each other out? . Where we are, how long we have known each other is not an issue and it has never been one.

'' We're all family. United in our difference. ''

Vote for Unity

( You're the right candidate)

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