"Pourquoi est-ce que Barack Obama a fait rien? Il a crée tous ces éspoirs mais aucune chose a passé!!"Like it's my fault the media plays against my President in France and it's not like I know him personally and we hang out or anything. Basically he meant to say, why is it that your President was so worshipped by the world and now he's not curing cancer or turning water to wine?
I explained, nicely, that although it appears as though nothing as passed.. it's because the news in France tends to be a bit ethnocentric with what they show.. mostly French news- or an interpretation of American news. Same thing we do back home.
The hype that surrounded my president during 2008 came from the fact he was fresh breath of air from the previous 8 years. Europe loved Obama.. they idealized him. French people would never wear their own flag, but people were smocked in the street with Obama T-Shirts, smiling and waving their Ameriphile-ness. New York suddenly became fancy again and the hatred that used to surround Americans dissipated and we became the golden children.
Except now, due to this phenomena, it's every American expatriate's duty to keep up on current affairs in order to be able to detail exactly what the president has done.
I explained the heath bill getting passed, the fact that the Government retook the loans so they could control the amounts, the movement of Iraq troops back into Afghanistan. I kindly noted that my president is my president, not the French president. He's not meant to change the world for Christ's sake, only ameliorate my own country (which was so utterly failing after George Bush).
I have a simple advice to Americans in France or ANYWHERE in Europe: Know the current events in America and in Europe.
The awful stereotype (which tends to be true in general) is that Americans are the dumbest most ill-informed and ethnocentric group of citizens on the planet. The French love to mock and tease, saying that we only know the "Eiffel Tower" and the "TGV". We stick to our guns while stuffing our face with burgers and bad beer- but while that is true of many places, it's even more important for those of us who are expatriates to represent our country. We're not just here to escape, because you'll never escape and be 100% European- it's impossible- but we are here as representatives.
So, as I learned on Saturday, even though I'm not a personal 'fan' of my country I make an effort to stick up for her- because I'll tell you what... you mess with MY mama, and you're messin' with me.
Some good debating terms:
N'importe quoi: It means, whatever, or 'are you kidding?'
T'es têtu: You're stubborn!
Je suis pas d'accord: I'm not in agreement
Ethnocentique: Means egotistic about your own country
La Droite: the right, like republicans
La Gauche: The left, democrats
L'êxtreme droite, 'tea party': The tea party candidates, which all French people have a good laugh
T'es grave or c'est grave: the first means, 'you're really lost and I can't save you, too sad (not emotionally, sarcastically), and the second, 'it's too bad'.
I'd read the news in English and write down some words, use a dictionary, find the equivalent. It's better to look smart.. plus it feels SO GOOD when the person you are debating with, in French, concedes.
Bon chance, bon courage,