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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Archive for the day “February 2, 2017”

Frozen Pizza Update

So I finally ate the frozen pizza and. . .

. . . it was not amazing. It was seriously oversalted, which is weird because pizza is salty as it is, so how do you make it taste oversalted? Our local Imo’s pizza is a work of art compared to this frozen one.

I’m glad I tried, though. Midlife crises should be embraced. I bought groceries today, and most of what I bought was something I never get. I found myself in entirely unfamiliar aisles. 

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Proud

The daycare teacher informed me, with a look of complete shock, that Klara despised macaroni and cheese and made barfing faces at it (or is it them?) but ate all of the carrots. 

“That was. . . very unusual,” the teacher said.

This comes on the heels of me reading Bringing up Bebe in one sitting yesterday, and I felt so proud of my superior parenting skills that I almost broke into a French accent. “Mais oui, vee, zee Ooropeans, do seengs tres different.”

Cultural Competence Quiz

So when I’m told at the daycare to “bring Valentines for the kids and here is the list of names”, what is it that I’m supposed to do?

Instant Bonding

Here’s what I don’t get from the book I reviewed in the previous post. Druckerman says that you can’t find in Paris the kind of instant bonding between women that you have in the US. I’ve lived in different parts of the East Coast and the Midwest. I’ve seen no instant bonding ever. In my experience, it takes Americans and Canadians a very long time to warm up to people and make them part of their lives. I always thought it was part of the culture and welcomed it because back in Ukraine everybody is very unapologetically intrusive and I’m tired of that. 

As I shared before, here in the Midwest people take their fear of bonding to new heights. Smiling at a fellow parent at daycare, the store or the music class results in people looking terrified and trying to flee the room. I’m not wearing a Ukrainian national headdress, so this can’t be because they dislike immigrants. 

This is why I’m so confused by Druckerman’s description of meetings with Americans when personal information is immediately revealed and private stuff is actively discussed. Hispanic people are like that, sure, but Americans?

Book Notes: Bringing up Bebe

This book was a huge fad a few years ago but I didn’t have a bebe to bring up at that point so I didn’t read it. Yesterday, though, I did and enjoyed it a lot. 

For those who don’t know: the author is an American immigrant in Paris who discovered that the way her French acquaintances raise their children is vastly superior to what the hovering, anxious, ultra competitive and permissive American parents she knows do. I’ve never met any American parents who behave like the ones she describes. Everybody I know belongs to an intellectually sophisticated class, and we are all already “French parents.” But I like the book anyway because it’s fun to read about people you never met and can’t imagine knowing. 

What I like about the author, Pamela Druckerman, is that she is a model immigrant. She is so excited about her new country, so happy to learn about it, so far removed from any attempt to lecture the locals on the right way to live, and so understanding of the fact that nobody in the new country owes her friendship, kindness and acceptance that one can only applaud her. Druckerman still practices her cultural rituals and hangs out with fellow immigrants but she understands that the children born in France should be free to absorb the French culture as much as they need to feel that they belong. 

Whether temporary or permanent, migration can either be a source of growth and learning something new or a source of constant frustration if you convince yourself that it’s beneath you to adapt. 

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