ON BECOMING A BLAXPAT

Someone wrote me a while ago, asking what my thought process was involving my decision to move to France.

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As an answer, I have decided to re-blog an interview I gave to Black Expat Magazine a while ago:

Delorys was born, raised, educated and married to her husband of now 38 years in New York City. She has lived in several US cities (New York City, Westport, Connecticut, Saint Louis, Missouri, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Princeton, New Jersey) and in France. Delorys and her husband have been living in the South of France for over a decade after having spent 17 years dividing her time between France and the United States with the intention of eventually moving abroad.

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What do you remember of your first trip abroad?

My first trip abroad was the summer before my junior year in college. I travelled in France, Switzerland, Germany and England. Back then (and I’m not going to be specific about the date) airline tickets for student travellers were dirt cheap…so were the Eurail passes. I had a blast! I met other students from all over Europe. People invited me to their homes, so I was able to see a lot of life in other countries. I was surprised also, how things in Western cultures could look so similar on the surface but be so dramatically different when you “walked through the door”… so to speak. But I had a wonderful time and in the meantime fell in love with France.

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At what point did you become aware that you wanted to live abroad and be an Expat? First let me say that I am not comfortable with the “Expat”. I just don’t like the prefix.  Nevertheless I do use the word I coined, “Blaxpat”, to describe my current lifestyle.  Anyway, realizing through subsequent travel that there was a huge, friendly world out there, and that as an American, coming from a country with so many allies, I had the privilege to be able to travel almost anywhere in the world and be welcomed. As a black American, I enjoyed the feeling of being identified culturally and nationally as an American as well as being Black. When I discovered, life in The South of France, I knew that I wanted to find a way of living here one day. I never really thought of living in a foreign country until my first visit to Nice, France, in my thirties.

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What experience has enlightened you the most since you moved abroad?

That learning a new language fluently, not only enhances your ability to communicate more precisely in your native language, but in others as well… as you learn them… through travel and social interaction. I am fluent in French. I cannot imagine living in a country without speaking the language. I would have to find a way to learn the language somehow if I already didn’t know it. Most countries in the West at least, have some form of literacy program.

 A DAY OF 'CUL CHA' IN THE CITY OF NICE

 … And the most disheartening experience so far?

The demise of the American dollar!

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 Have you adopted any new customs whilst living in France?

You know, I honestly can’t tell anymore. Celebrating Bastille Day, perhaps?

 

We know that you moved to France with your husband, did you have any children that came with you and if so how have they adapted to the expat life?

We don’t have children. But I’ve realized that if I had children, I doubt that I would want to raise them outside of the US, unless my husband was a citizen of the country where we lived. I would have no problem having them attend school abroad, after a certain age, but I feel that It is always easier to adjust to other cultures when you are firmly grounded in who you are. Family connections are important. Also as a black American, I feel it would be important for them to understand the unique history of our particular tribe of people in the US, and how it is juxtaposed with the rest of the world.

 Delorys and Allan

Do you miss any customs from home?

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I certainly don’t miss Thanksgiving, especially as a black American with Native American heritage. Otherwise, things aren’t all that different here in France. But then, it probably seems that way to me because in addition to having been raised in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural environment, I have always lived in Cosmopolitan communities whether it be Connecticut, Missouri or the other places we’ve lived.

How have you gone about making friends?

My social connections come through my work in the arts, as I am both a painter and author.

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Have you (continued…)

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MY NICE LOVE AFFAIRE

This is for those of you who are headed in this direction for Nice Carnivale.  Here is a taste of my adopted town:

Market 8A

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See why I chose to live here?

 

Revisiting Our (American) Roots DJANGO: UNCHAINED

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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 Tarantino has a unique way of blending the serious with the ridiculous which I enjoy and admire.

The movie was way too long…but then, that’s probably his point.  Some things just go on way too long.

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

In other words, I would highly recommend this movie to people …adult people…with strong stomachs AND a twisted sense of humor.

MY 3 TIPS FOR ASPIRING WRITERS

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

 

2) If you are a creative writer, write what you want and study the craft.

 

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

US ELECTION 2012: The Countdown

In otherwords: WHY CHANGE HORSES IN MID STREAM?

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I’M NOT DISAPPOINTED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA” ~~~Jake Lamar

Mr Lamar  is an American author, from the Bronx,  who has been living in Paris since 1993.  He graduated from Harvard and is the author of The Last Integrationist, Rendez vous 18th, Ghosts of Saint Michel among other novels.

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Enjoy this video from fellow Blaxpat author Jake Lamar.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJLvtVIk3R8

Bye for now.

a thrilling moment for an Author

The last time I rode a NYC subway was 14 years ago before we moved to France.  Even though people have told me about “sightings” of people reading my novels  on subways, buses on various rail road lines, I have never personally had the priviledge to witness this.

Two months ago, this young lady was spotted reading the hardcover edition of Gingersnaps: a novel…published in 1998.

It thrills me even more to see someone reading it who is at least a generation younger than the author.

http://undergroundnewyorkpubliclibrary.com/post/29476964200/gingersnaps-by-delorys-welch-tyson-borrow-i

the photographer Orit Ben Haim

“Being able to see what a stranger is reading, provides an opportunity to make a connection — and not just judge a book by its cover. Reading in public is a kind of “vulnerability,” ~~ Orit Ben Haim

The Underground New York Public Library is a photo series featuring the Reading-Riders of the NYC subways.  The photos come together as a visual library.

THE EU BLUES PART 3: Divvying Up the Nobel Prize Money

Flash:

The 27 Member European Unions plans to divide the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize Prize money equally!

“The Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is approximately 1.16 million Euros.”

In other words:

1,160,000  divided by 27 =  approximately 42,962 euros…

which is approximately my monthly grocery budget in France!

« DIVIDE ET IMPERA »

Diviser pour régner.

Divide and Conquer

Bye bye for now!

WITH WHOM ARE THEY GOING TO SHARE THE PRIZE MONEY?

The reason I have been absent for a while from this blog sphere is quite simple.

I have been angry, tired, numb and plain pissed off.

To quote the American author, Terry McMillan, “It’s hard to write when you’re angry or numb.  It’s hard to do anything when you’re angry or numb”.*

(*Getting to Happy, by Terry McMillan, bestselling author to Waiting to Exhale)

Just as I was beginning to emerge from my funk this is what I encounter:

THE 27 MEMBER EUROPEAN UNION WINS 2012 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE!

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Say WHAT!??!

Who?!?

Why?!?

(Cough, Gag!)
What is a Nobel Preace Prize,  you ask?

Well…this is what they say…

“Each year the respective Nobel Committees send individual invitations to thousand of members of academies, university professors, scientists from numerous countries, previous Nobel laureates, members of parliamentary assemblies and others (,,,!!???),** asking them to submit candidates for the Nobel prizes for the coming year.  These nominators are chosen in such a way that as many universities and countries as possible are represented over time (!!???!!)

A nomination for the Nobel Prize may be submitted by any person who meets the nomination criteria. A letter of invitation to submit is not required.  The names of the nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later (!!!???!!)**

The Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. The Committee is composed of five members appointed by the Storting (Norwegian parliament). The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway, not in Stockholm, Sweden, where the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and the Economics Prize are awarded.

The candidates eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize are those submitted by qualified nominators.(5???!!?? )** No one can nominate himself or herself.

Statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years. The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as investigations and opinions related to the award of a prize.”

(**emphasis is mine)

Perhaps I’ve been living in some parallel universe for these past 14 years in Europe, but what exactly has the EU actually accomplished toward peace?
Without getting into the specifics, let me just look at some recent Peace Prize Winners:

2011

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The prize was awarded jointly to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee a Tawakkul Karman

for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.

2010

The prize goes to:

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Liu Xiabobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.

2009

The prize goes to:

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President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.

Oops..!

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I suppose the EU and America have a lot more in common than I realized.  Perhaps y European friends were correct, after all, when they said that forming an EU would be similar to having the United (ah hem…cough) States of America.
Well, President Obama admitted that he hadn’t quite earned the Nobel, so gave his prize money to disabled Vets.
Let me show you what they say about the Prize money:

“The Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is approximately 1.16 million Euros.  The Nobel prize money sometimes goes to a  single individual or the prize may be split between two or three recipients.

The exact weight of a Nobel medal varies, but each medal is 18 karat green gold plated with 24 karat (pure) gold, with an average weight of around 175 grams. As of October 8, 2012, 175 grams of gold is worth $9975 or about ten thousand US dollars. The Nobel Prize medal may be worth even more than its weight in gold if the medal goes up for auction.”

Tell me, y’all…how is the 27 member State going to divvy up the spoils…I mean winnings?

Is this Nobel Peace Prize perhaps the bait in which to test the allegiances?

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Is that a fire I smell and a fiddle I hear?

Why not nominate me? I could use the bread!   I’d share it with ya’, too.

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Enjoy life!