I was itching to write in French, but the keyboard I'm using does not have the useful accents needed for the French language. And writing without the accents makes my skin crawl. So, English it is, for now.
I'm in DC, taking the day off from travels and activities. Taking the day to do what I do so well, and that is... not much besides keeping myself entertained with writing, reading and perhaps watching a dvd later, if I feel like it. I realise many people aren't like this. It seems like a lot of people don't necessarily need "low times". Or maybe they do, but don't realise it. When my mother left the appartment, she asked me what I was going to do, and suggested that I could go to the pool (my uncle and aunt live in a complex where there is a pool and many other fancy things like a gym and even a coffee shop). Yes, I guess I could. But that would defeat the purpose of having a day off, having a day when you don't do things just for the sake of doing them. A day when you just hang out with yourself. Perhaps, if I actually enjoyed going to the pool, I would feel like going. But, really, I don't, so it most probably ain't gonna happen!
Instead of swimming and getting exercise, I'm reading the book Eat, Pray, Love which was so sweetly sent from New Orleans by my sister. I'm enjoying it very much, but Elizabeth Gilbert, the author and narrator, gets on my nerves, a little, sometimes. She's a bullient, chatty, sometimes self-absorbed (or overly self-deprecating? I'm not sure which yet) American in search of spirituality. The subtitle of the book goes like this : " One woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia". And indeed, it does seem like Liz Gilbert is looking for everything, namely peace and purpose and a sense of feeling complete. In order to find those things, she stops by Italy to find pleasure, India to meditate and find Peace -or in her words : God - and Indonesia to try and combine worldly pleasures with transcendance. It's an ambitious project, and a worthy one, too. That may be why I would like her to write in a slightly less pedestrian way. Call me old-fashionned, but if I'm reading a book about praying, I don't expect and necessarily want to be so entertained. Eat Pray Love is an entertaining read, but not a profound and deep one. I don't think it will transform me, although it has instructed me on Yoga practises and the ways of meditation. But Gilbert's writing is too chatty. It still wants to seduce. She wants to be loved through her writing, instead of just saying things without fear of judgement. I haven't finished the book yet, so I might be surprised to see that Gilbert's writing has more impact on me than I'm willing to admit. And it is reassuring to hear such a fresh voice candidly sharing her turmoil and quest for calm in her life. But I'm pretty sure that she's one of those people who has difficulties taking "low times" just to chill. She actually admits it, blaming in part her American culture :
"Generally speaking, though, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that's not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. [...] Americans don't really know how to do nothing."
Of course, I can find Americans who know how to relax. By generalizing, without giving hard evidence for her claim, Gilbert is weakening her argument. But, on the other hand, I see what she means. Having been raised in France, I know how to enjoy a meal. That basically means eating delicious food, talking with friends for endless hours, and not doing much else than that. Such times are beautiful, deeply cherished moments. And I'm really really not sure that I would know how to thoroughly enjoy a meal if I had been raised in the USA. In fact, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't.
Have I ever mentionned that I'm very happy being Franco-American? Well, I am! Best of both worlds, if it weren't for all that water between them...