Month: March 2010

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

“Where are you from?”

“On a deck in Boston, seven friends recently gathered for dinner. At the table was a white American man; his wife, an Italian woman he met in Switzerland; a Swiss citizen raised in Kenya; a German of Korean origin; a woman with Haitian, Chinese and European ancestry; the son of a black American and a German Jew; and an American with Indian blood.

It took a while to get through the where-are-you-fromming, as it often can these days.” (The Struggle of the Global Placeless)

Now this is a good question … While this is one of the most common questions, it can also be one of the trickiest.  Click on comment if you feel like revealing where you’re from!  (No indiscretion intended!)

Posted in Notes on English Cross Cultural Comments Keywords

Concept map for “achievement”

This document allowed me to enumerate, elaborate and visualize how the (my) brain sees this idea. What I associate with the idea of achievement. As you’ll see there are two poles: success and failure, one positive and one negative.


  1. success
  2. to succeed
  3. to win
  4. antonym= to lose/lost
  1. won
  2. victory
    1. antonyms:  defeat  to give up – to surrender – to abandon
  1. successful
  2. profitable
  3. satisfaction 
    1. antonyms  – failure – to fail
    2. unsuccessful
    3. unprofitable
    4. dissatisfaction/ insatisfaction

III.      to achieve

  1. to attain


  1. finished

antonyms: incomplete

  1. unfinished





It may well be that different cultures, different backgrounds see this differently. To each his own!

Posted in Notes on English

Metaphors in the news …

Here’s one from the front page of the International Herald Tribune … “Arms control talks break past logjam

Well, I suggest you look up this word in Google Image to get a visual picture of what it means.  the “jam” part does not mean something made from fruit and sugar to put on your toast in the  morning … It’s more linked to the jam you may know in traffic jam:

stuck, not being able to go anywhere.

And this is something that can happen in negotiations, in discussions. We know lots of examples, don’t we?

Watch out for metaphors … they’re … picturesque.

Posted in Paris

Le salon du livre

Over at the Porte de Versailles is the annual Parisian Book Fair: the Salon du Livre.

As usual, you’ll find loads of interesting new publications – often by little–known or unknown publishers from France and all around the world.

You’ll never regret spending a couple of hours there …

Posted in Notes on English

“flotsam and jetsam”

In his recent article on the global “placeless,” Anand Giridharadas used these terms. I admit I had to look them up myself. This is what I found …. floating on the sea …

flotsam and jetsam.


Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

The Struggle of the Global Placeless

This is a very well-written and interesting article entitled : The Struggle of the Global Placeless with sincere new insight into an old problem among many individuals living globally and multi-culturally.

Congratulations to Anand Giridharadas and the International Herald Tribune for publication.

Posted in Notes on English Cross Cultural Comments

Adopt a new word today!

One of the remarkable things in our highly possessive society is that no one “owns” words … we just adopt them.

There are those words that are our friends: we like to see them from time to time, they smile at us, we smile at them. They talk to us, we talk back, small talk, a little lunch chat … maybe more.

There are those words we read, those we think we understand, those too abstruse for our time, too.

And … there are words and expressions that we take a fancy to, that we really like. In the same way, we like to wear these jeans or that sweater or those funny socks or that old scarf … When you come across a word or a phrase you really like … why not adopt it? You’ll be giving a whole new life to those few letters who’ll make life for others more colorful!

Adopt a word today! They’re everywhere … just waiting for a little TLC.

TLC ? TLC = tender loving care … (something like love)

Posted in Popular sayings, proverbs & quotes

What goes up …

What goes up … must come down.

So observed Issac Newton when he threw an apple into the air. Gravity.

And the saying persists: “What goes up must come down.”

[audio:|titles=what goes up must come down]

Our world has its rules, its laws. Even if we do succeed in defying gravity … at least for a while!

Posted in USA

The Frugal Traveler

Anne Sophie told me that she and her boyfriend were planning a trip to New York in May …and wanted to do it ….  frugally.

Frugal … Thrifty … Budget … Inexpensive … even … cheap . These are all words describing the relative low cost of something.

Matt Gross is a specialist about travelling around the world – alone or with his wife and children – without spending a fortune.

This is the New York Times site about travelling on a budget! The Frugal Traveler.

Start packing.

Posted in France Paris

Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme

We all know the Louvre … and Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame and the Institut du Monde Arabe …

Here is the programme and information for the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme.  So many interesting things are taking place here. Look at the programme. There may be something which interests you.

When we talk about cross-cultural understanding, I hope that we’re talking about trying to appreciate and understand each other.

Site in English and French.