Thursday, April 26, 2007

25 Avril 2007

Another installment I thought you might want to read...


Today was my last day in France. We had success at work, with positive feedback on our work from the customers. I have an action item, from discussion, to follow up within a few weeks of getting home.

I am a little sad to leave France behind. Every morning it is customary to say a bright “Bonjour” to everyone you see. I’m coming to understand, though, that “Bonjour” is more than just the French version of our word “hello.” It’s a respect of people thing. It’s an acknowledgement of the presence of the individual, and the wishing of them to have a good day (Bon = good, jour = day). If you look them in the eye when you say it (most people do), it really packs a punch. It is so warm and welcoming, to me. I feel like it may even heal the common cold. Best way: deliver it from the gut, with French gusto….Tres bien!

What a contrast! In the states many people don’t bother to look up or even grunt when another person enters their presence.

One more thing about “Bonjour:” once you’ve said it, DON’T say it again to that person the rest of the day. To do so seems to imply you might not have cared much in the first place. If all this seems like a big responsibility, it is. But—what’s more important than taking a moment to acknowledge people? Think of the richness of relationship of your best friend, or the laughs you’re shared with a really funny person….how about the time a deeply kind word brought warmth and comfort to your soul, perhaps during a time you ached from one of life’s hurts? Did that matter to you? If people matter to you, today (and every day) is a good time to express it.

One reason this is all being put into writing is to remind myself that I must come back. Though it’s a lot of effort, time and $$ to get here, there is NOTHING LIKE it, being in a country where they speak French, and have all their interesting French ways.

I think I was meant to be born French, but got dropped off by the Stork in the wrong country?? Actually, Grandpa Glen’s great-grandfather was born near the border of France and Germany, in the 1800’s. They emigrated to Canada and later generations to the US. So we have French blood in us?

A couple more things about French sites before I forget: Walking through the city of Metz is like opening a big storybook, with ornate gold leaf on the cover, and as your eyes fall on the inside, colors that brighten, the moment you look at them. We used a French Curve in drafting class (engineering school) and now I know why the French get credit for the graceful curves: the streets, the inset paver stone patterns inset in the streets, and the disposable plastic lunch trays. And of course the cars but you’ve already had to read about that.

Somehow, I’ve got to come back to Metz (pronounced “mess” J ), and when I do, I’ve got to see the inside of the cathedral. My room, #333, had a nice view of it, but now my appetite is whetted.


After I left Florange (France), it was 40 minutes to a new country: Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a big name but a very small country; a principality, I understand. About the size of Chicago? I was hoping they’d stop us at the border and I’d get the thrill of “crossing the border,” complete with passport stamp, but no, it’s part of the European Union, so apparently whoever is OK with France is OK to be in Luxembourg.

Luxembourg has a King and Queen; I saw their pictures in the lobby of the hotel. I asked the girl at the counter whether or not he did a good job. I wonder what exactly he does? In the picture, he was holding a sword, but it didn’t look like it had gotten much use--No disrespect intended.

There have been many questions from Delphi comrades as to how I’m going to get from my hotel (next to the airport) to Bascharage (city 17 miles away where Delphi Tech Center is located). Their concern is appreciated. The two most common offered ideas offered have been:

renting a car
calling a taxi.

Either one costs about €100 (100 Euros, or about $135.00), and neither seems like an interesting way to get there. It’s the inefficiency of those ideas I don’t like. What a ridiculously large sum of money, simply to get a short bit of transportation. I mean, how incredibly helpless are we here, people?

My idea: I spotted a BUS STOP outside my hotel, which apparently I can ride for about €3 each way, with a bus change in the city center. I think I’ll try it. I’ll be able to tell you when I get home whether this was such a smart idea. J There is no certain time I have to be at the Delphi building tomorrow so if I get a little turned around, hey, I’ll get to see more of the area??

“Things we deeply feel” is what I’d like to write more about, but with the long hours I’ve been working all week, the lack of sleep, overeating, lack of exercise, missing my family, and uncertainly of staying in a strange land, it has me feeling a little out of place and wiped out.

I’m thankful for some focus that recently came from my bible, informing me that we are “strangers and aliens” anyhow, in this life, passing through, and to live now with God, closely, letting him tenderly lead us, while looking for that next, better land. So maybe this travel is good training for that. Truly, that reference about being a “stranger” is helping me find my place in this world anyhow. It helps a person rest from the work of trying to “fit in” or be “acceptable.” The point is that achieving business success, looking a certain way, or expressing yourself a certain way is an irrelevant distraction from the life we are meant to lead: with a deep acceptance of ourselves and then other people.

Thanks for listening,
Goodnight, or as we say in France, Bon nuit,
Love always,

PS I am sending you this note from the Delphi building, after riding the bus successfully this morning. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Facts of Life

by Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring and Al Burton) Lyrics - The Facts of Life Lyrics

There's a place you've got to go for learning
all you want to know about the facts of life
the facts of life.

When books are what you're there about
and looks are what you care about
the time is right,
to learn the facts of life.

When the world never seems
to be living up to your dreams
it's time you started finding out
what everything is all about

When the boys you used to hate you date,
I guess you best investigate
the facts of life you gotta get'em right
the facts of life,
the facts of life,
the facts of life

Seasons 2-5
You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.

There's a time you got to go and show
You're growin' now you know about
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.

When the world never seems
to be livin up to your dreams
And suddenly you're finding out
the Facts of Life are all about you, you.

It takes a lot to get 'em right
When you're learning the Facts of Life. (learning the Facts of Life)
Learning the Facts of Life (learning the Facts of Life)
Learning the Facts of Life.

End Credits
You'll avoid a lot of damages
an enjoy the fun of managing
the facts of life;
they shed a lot of light
If you hear them from your brother,
better clear them with your mother
better get them right,
call her late at night

You got the future in the palm of your hands
all you gotta do to get you through is understand
you think you rather do without,
you will never make without the truth
the facts of life is all about you