MA-losophy in France: Being Cordial, Appreciating a Sense of Humor, and Speaking without Words

I will have a dozen or so blogs about my trip to France in the Summer of 2013.  Expect the MA-losophy style while also getting tips that you may be able to use when traveling with family in Europe (in my case with 11 people total) and my ability to maintain my sanity (most of the time).  While I receive compliments on my ability to speak French, I am far from perfect and it is a continuously humbling experience.  The following are some of my adventures as the only family member that spoke the language and was most exposed to the culture.  Wow, did I learn many lessons.  Read on…

Lessons in Wine, and the Cordial and Humorous French
The smaller villages are generally my favorite.  The people tend to be friendlier, you are not elbow-t0-elbow, and it can be easier to sit in a cafe or for a meal to just name a few things.

Charming little spaces in small cities

In the Cote de Rhone region, Gordes (France) was built into a mountain, Rousillan is known for its red clay buildings (from the earth of this area), and Tavel is a wine producing area (many vineyards).  Small shops, beautiful views and well-kept architecture litter Gordes and Rousillan.  These two small villages were close to one another so once we had our mid-day meal we move by car to taste wine for our early afternoon treat.

We visited two excellent wineries: Domaine Le Malaven which included the proprietor’s son and daughter each creating own their blends; and the Domaine de la Mordoree that produces organic wine.  Both were more than generous with their time.  The Domaine de la Mordee shared how they keep pests away naturally.  In particular, there is a type of butterfly that lays eggs on the leaves then the larva burrow into the grapes.  To fool the males, they add a female aroma to an area in the vineyard and the guys hang around looking to get lucky; however, they die waiting.  In the meantime, the ladies are looking for their men in another area but to no avail and they also perish.  This became a very funny exchange and this was a dry sense of humor that I have found with many French exchanges (especially when joking about derivations of intimacy).  OR it may be me and what I attract (very possible as I can be a bit inappropriate in certain circles).

Off the subject but it sparks a memory (here I go again), one time I was talking about a meal I had with my mentor (in French) and I said that our meal included “petites pommes” (I meant to say pommes de terre which is potatoes).  My teacher snickered and said this would be a slang term for a man’s gonads (it literally means small apples).  Oh, the mistakes I make (did I mention that the French don’t laugh at me, they laugh with me?).

View from Gordes, France

Experiencing Larger Cities in France

In direct contrast, the next day we would travel to Paris.  This was my and my husband’s least favorite stop.  The speed of the people and the region increase substantially (similar to contrasting New York City to Asheville, NC).  But, no-one else in our family had been to Paris and if one goes to France one simply must see the major landmarks, at least once.  It was important — from my perspective — to share France in smaller settings first so that my family could get to know the people in a more relaxed settings.  Too many have said to me (in America) that the French are rude and impatient.  This, simply, has not been my experience (even when I didn’t know the language), but (categorically) city people anywhere are city people.  It’s the speed in which we move that impacts our behavior, in my opinion.  How can we create calm to bring out the best in ourselves and others?

The MA-losophic message is notice how your environment impacts your behavior
When in high speed environments or situations that require you to make decisions more quickly, how does that impact your personality?  Who is rushing you?  How can you slow them down so that you can share your wonderful and kind self?  Body language and tonality — according to Neuro-linguistic Programming — is 90+% of communication.  If you don’t know the language how can you approach a situation in a gentle way?  What if you, at least, know bonjour (hell0), merci (thank you), and please (s’il vous plait) and then point with smiling eyes and a soft voice?

Now, how do you do this in your native tongue?

To learn more about my mind over matter practice, my self-help books, workshops, and techniques to create comfort for yourself and others, go to  Speak to you soon.

1 Comment Posted in Asheville Wholistic Integrative Professional, Guide, Neuro-linguistic Programming, Walking your path
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One Comment

  1. Wonder segment! And I so understand the wisdom of place. When I moved from the greater northeast to Colorado, people couldn’t understand my speech – I spoke to fast! Many years there slowed me down in speech and thought. I had no idea at the time that was all in preparation for finding my home in Western North Carolina, where the pace is beautifully calm and quiet.

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