Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday from the Francophone Files | 19 May

Vendredi, 19 mai.

TGIF, or as we say here, Dieu merci, c'est vendredi! I've just finished my first week back in the office after a two week holiday in the States and I don't think that I've ever been so relieved to make it to a weekend.

My recent trip back to the States gave me some time to think about my priorities and, in particular, about my plans for this website. I've had this blog for almost four years now and the quality and frequency of my posts has changed a lot during that period. As I figure out where I'll be taking the site in the future, my hip and social media savvy younger sister suggested that a short weekly post series might help to keep me on track. Friday from the Francophone Files will be just that: some of the things I'm reading, watching, listening to, and thinking about as an American gal in Francophone Europe. Let's get started!

Talking about ... POTUS Comes to Brussels

Donald Trump is coming to Brussels and I've got the inside scoop. (Just kidding!) The president will be in Brussels next Wednesday and Thursday for a NATO summit with leaders from the other member countries as well as meetings with EU and Belgian leaders. Given the president's previous criticism of NATO, it will be interesting to see how he fares in the city he described as a "hellhole" -- and to see how the rest of Brussels fares under the increased security of such a high-profile presidential visit.

In case you were wondering, there's no presidential meeting planned for me! I'll actually be out of town for work during the second half of next week, so unless Trump makes an unexpected detour to Luxembourg, I will be missing the entirety of the visit.

Listening to ... Pod Save the World

I listen to podcasts all day long, from basically the minute I wake up in the morning until the moment I fall asleep to Meditation Oasis. (Don't knock it till you try it: their 18-minute "Relax into Sleep" pod ends with five minutes of music, which I cannot confirm because I have never NOT fallen asleep before the end.)

One of my favorites is Pod Save the World, hosted by Tommy Vietor of Crooked Media. I've listened to every single episode and have learned things that I did not even know I didn't know about foreign policy, from the history of U.S. relations with China to the secret negotiations that led to the Iran nuclear deal. The podcast most recently featured an interview with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jeffrey Gettleman, the author of Love, Africa: A Memoir of Romance, War, and Survival. The episode that I've embedded below, however, is a throwback to April 2017 with an in-depth look at the political situation in France. Even though the election has passed, I highly recommend it for an introduction to the political situation in France and to the challenges facing the newly-elected president!

Thinking about ... New Election, Same Old Misogyny 

One of the most interesting side effects of the recent presidential election in France has been the misogynistic and just plain mean commentary surrounding new 'First Lady of France', Brigitte Macron. The wife of Emmanuel Macron has been attracting attention for her style and looks, as well as for her age: Mme Macron is 64, having met her husband -- 24 years her junior -- when he was a student in high school. Their story is romantic, unconventional (at least to us Americans, who prefer our presidential age differences in the opposite direction), and perfect fodder for mean-spirited critics, with inflammatory magazine Charlie Hebdo wading into the fray just this past week. Will Macron's bossy older wife exert too much influence in his presidency? Is marriage to an older woman the way that Macron is covering up for his homosexuality? And how much plastic surgery has she had anyway?

In short ... ugh.

Talking about ... Belgian Pride

This weekend is Belgian Pride 2017. Now in its 22nd year, the event is a colorful celebration of the LGBT community in Belgium and the European Union. The theme of this year's event is Crossing Borders, with a particular focus on the experiences of LGBT+ refugees, both in their country of origin and at their arrival in Belgium. I'm not sure if I will make it out to this weekend's events, but recommend that you check out the variety of parades and events going on in downtown Brussels on Saturday!

Thinking about ... Flowers, Flowers, Flowers!

It's easy to forget how much better flowers can make everything. I picked up these chrysanthemums on a grocery store run and for the price of a coffee, I now have a week's worth of enjoyment from these happy little flowers. Yippee!

And hold up a minute ... do y'all have suggestions for the blog? What aspects of the site do you enjoy? What do you wish you could see more of (or less)? And how do you feel about Friday from the Francophone Files? :)


  1. Very enjoyable == don't see the links on this version

  2. forgot frankly,
    I will frequently follow Friday from Francophone Files

  3. We enjoy sights and sounds from your daily life as a young American living abroad as well as any and all adventures you take! The idea of the weekly update sounds wonderful!