What I’ve Noticed About Divorce In The United States

It’s hard to come to a new country without recognizing the differences in family life after you’ve been there for a while. I’m an adult who moved here from France, and most of my friends are adults who moved here from other parts of the country. But sooner or later I started to get a glimpse of home life from those few friends who were born and raised in Los Angeles, and I’ve noticed a number of differences in perceptions of divorce between the two countries.

Americans seem to have this frame of mind wherein divorce is the end of the world, regardless of the fact that researchers have long since proved otherwise. Attraction between two people might start out very romantic and affectionate, but as the years roll by the pair’s relationship will often sour. That shouldn’t be a surprise — there are fewer new experiences, and both partners know everything there is to know about one another. There’s less excitement.

Partners have two obvious options when the relationship becomes stale: they can seek to find new experiences to share to keep the romance alive (as counselors will sometimes advise partners to do), or they can divorce. The choice is ultimately up to those who were once in love, but is either option worse than the other?

Not in my mind.

Either way, you’re seeking a new experience. It’s just about whether or not you want to have it with the person you’ve been with for a while, or with someone new. What’s the big deal?

But to Americans it’s a big deal. A lot of people will call marriage “broken” in the United States because the divorce rate is so high. But in my mind it isn’t that high. Here in the U.S., the divorce rate is about 46 percent and seems to be on the decline. In France, where divorce is just a part of life, the divorce rate stands at 55 percent — and the divorce process is France is a lot more annoying than it is here.

It’s easy in America: you hire an uncontested divorce attorney if you haven’t been together long, or you hire a family law attorney if you have. There are only two types of divorce: fault or no-fault. 

In France, it’s different. There are five types of divorce: divorce by mutual consent (no judge required), divorce by mutual legal consent (i.e. with a judge), divorce on the basis of a “broken” marriage, divorce based on irrevocable damage to the conjugal bond, or fault divorce. Most divorce proceedings requiring a judicial ruling in France also require both parties to at least attempt to reconcile. It’s far more complicated for us, and we still do it more often!

France And America Aren’t So Different From One Another

I’ll be the first to admit how much culture shock I experienced when first setting foot in the United States. Flying in was a test of endurance, but I broke it up with a bit of travel — so I’ve seen more than just Los Angeles. My experiences traveling across the United States, coupled with my experiences traveling back at home, have left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Both countries have an equality problem.

I was sad to learn that there have already been over a hundred women murdered by lovers or family members — men, mostly — in France this year, and the number is quickly climbing. In a country with 67 million people, that might not seem like much, but to me it’s everything. And the numbers are even higher in the United States, especially proportionate to the 330 million people who reside here, but I’m not going to get into it.

The real issue is that the numbers are increasing slowly year by year.

I can’t help but wonder why that’s the case. Is it declining mental health? Is it the ease of finding or using a gun? Is it anger over the #MeToo movement? I don’t know.

Protesters are raging in Paris over this trend, and government officials have promised to launch a national “consultation” to address concerns, but the truth is this: not enough is being done to find out why it happens or prevent it from happening in the future. Those campaigning for office say they want to increase spending on domestic violence issues and do more to make sure abused women are sheltered from danger. But will they?

“The question is to allocate the resources to do it and we’re asking for a billion euros. A few days ago, Marlene Schiappa announced the allocation of one million euros. One million euros for a country like France is a paltry sum.”

And that’s the way it is here too. No matter how many promises politicians make, it’s never enough. They promise a particular dollar amount that will sound like a lot of money to the average citizen, but in reality it’s pennies compared to what’s available.

The United States House of Representatives reauthorized a 1994 law that helps provide aid to domestic violence victims: the Violence Against Women Act. But isn’t it true that reauthorizing a 25-year-old law isn’t nearly as good as building a new one? …A better one?

Not surprisingly, the NRA is opposed to the reauthorization legislation (and basically anything else that might help people, but that’s another matter entirely). It seems like even in 2019, we’re having a hard time learning how to be better.

A French Girl’s View Of American Sexuality (Or Lack Thereof)

For all the attention older generations give to the so-called exploding teenage sexuality in America, they still manage to get it wrong. There’s this weird perception of younger generations here in the U.S. having a “hookup culture” but most of the studies done on this supposed outburst of sexual energy have thoroughly debunked the practice. In reality kids these days are doing exactly as much (or as little) hooking up as their parents did — but they might be a lot more open about it. Which is a good thing.

This is still a huge shock to those who visit from overseas (including yours truly).

Americans are a lot colder and less open about their sexual desires than the French. It’s almost as if they think all those unrealized fantasies — you know, the ones they lie about not having — are weird or abnormal, or that they shouldn’t be having them.

A lot of you probably own dogs. Some of you probably own more than one. A few might even own two male dogs. And you know what those dogs definitely do? They cuddle. To them it’s a creature comfort, something they do because two physical beings with a strong emotional bond are supposed to express that emotional bond in a physical way. I’ve got sad news for a lot of you: humans are no different. We’re animals. And we have that need for those same creature comforts too, whether we choose to engage in them or not. 

Societal norms in any culture should not stop us from same-sex physical encounters, no matter how far they go (cuddling, making out, sex, or whatever else two people choose to do). In France, and pretty much all of Europe, it’s not weird to see two close friends with their arms around one another on the couch. No one assumes it means they aren’t attracted to the opposite sex. No one accuses them of being gay (as if there is anything wrong with that in the first place) and our citizens are emotionally healthier because of this openness. Then again, if a guy and girl have their arms around one another, we don’t necessarily assume they’re anything more than good friends. And therein lies the difference between our cultures.

In America, practically everyone thinks they’re abnormal in some way. It’s not true. The only abnormal thing is being so closed off from everyone else. 

That said, the French are known as “romantic” for a reason. We tend to keep our sex lives behind closed doors even when those sex lives are wilder, but we don’t have the same moral hangups that American have. No one will think less of anyone else for going to bed with someone after a drink or two at the bar. Sex is about fun and affection and engaging with someone on a different level. It doesn’t mean a lifelong commitment, nor should it.

The Truth About French Perception Of The United States

I’ve been living here long enough to adapt, but my first days in the United States were full of culture shock. I thought maybe I’d made the wrong decision in moving here. Who hasn’t second guessed themselves after such a big turning point in their lives, though? I’m still here, and don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon! But here are a few things I was asking my new American friends when I arrived, and most of my French friends have the same questions when they visit.

  • Dating. It’s not the game here in the United States that it is in France. You don’t look at the people you like the same way we do. There are no “rules” in France. But here? Oh my god, if you go out to a movie, you have to label it a date! If you do it more than once or twice, suddenly you have to label the relationship as more serious. You have a new boyfriend or girlfriend! I found it so ridiculous. In France you can do whatever you like without labeling it. “Dating” in France is a casual affair, and we don’t label it or constrict it like you do.
  • Dressing. I’ll follow it up with an aspect of American culture I’ve fallen in love with over time: casual dress, like always. In France you look your best almost around the clock. “Casual” might work for relationships, but it certainly doesn’t work for clothes. French standards are high; American standards are not. But that’s okay! People should be free to wear whatever they like without judgment. Buying groceries in pajama pants? It was one of the most liberating moments of my life, even though a friend had to drag me out to enjoy the experience.
  • Meals. They’re less about socializing over here, and more about needing nourishment. It’s not uncommon to see an American work through their lunch break, or bring a lunch to their desk. We don’t understand that at all! We take our time to eat and talk, and then we rest. We go back to work later, but the French world pretty much shuts down for lunch. You guys can enjoy your half-hour, but I miss my two-hour midday break.

  • Driving. Your standards are a joke to pretty much everyone else. Your driving exams are meant to be passed, even at age sixteen. When I trained to get my California license, I couldn’t believe how easy the test was — and that was in LA, where they’re supposed to be more difficult. It makes me feel more anxious on the road, knowing that there are so many sixteen-year-old kids out driving (while on their phones, of course). As if that’s normal!

History of United States and French Relationship

Mes amies, I apologize for being away for so long. It has been quite busy for me. But I hope that I will not be able to start regularly updating my blog again. For today’s post, I was hoping to talk about how long the United States and France have been friends. After all, France is my first home and the United States is my second.

The United States and France have been allies for almost 250 years! France helped the United States during the American Revolution and they have been allies ever since.

During World War 1, American soldiers came to France without much of their equipment. This was done so America could send more men on the ships. The soldiers used French weapons, airplanes, and tanks. Most of the combat troops were stationed in France.

Although France is across the Atlantic from the United States, the two countries work together to support French territories in the Pacific Ocean. French islands such as French Polynesia and New Caledonia are protected by the United States and French Navy.

France is also an ally when it comes to the United States in their War on Terror especially against Isis. French and American Troops are helping stop Isis terrorist groups in the Sahel, a region in Africa.

Franch is also in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Part of the agreement with NATO is that part of the countries gross domestic product goes towards defense. France has committed the 2% increase by 2025 and is on pace to meet all requirements of European security.

While tensions between President Trump and President Macron are quite high, to say the least, the history between these two countries runs deep. I hope that in the end, the two countries will continue to support each other. It might just take a new administration within the United States to see all that we have learned.

A Dream Cruise From Los Angeles!

I’ve loved cruising the open seas ever since I embarked on my very first ship almost ten years ago, and I’m still shocked how many people don’t realize how enjoyable they can be–or how cheap.

I’m even more surprised by the litany of excuses I often hear. Why wouldn’t you want to go on a cruise, I ask? Because I like to choose my own destinations. Because I like to see different places. Because it sounds expensive. Because I don’t like someone telling me when I have to be back from my daily excursions. Blah, blah, blah. The list goes on. None of these excuses make the least bit of sense!

There are any number of cruises and port cities from which you can plan your trip, and all of them offer unique itineraries. The options are nearly endless. You can absolutely choose your own destinations, you just can’t modify your choices once you’ve booked a cruise, because that cruise’s itinerary is set in stone. Then again, you can always switch out to a different ship with different destinations later.

I hate, hate, hate hearing about how people like to see different places. It’s a cruise. You are literally going to any number of different destinations. Not all of them are the Bahamas. You want to see Europe? Go on a Mediterranean cruise. You want to see Alaska? Go on an Alaskan cruise. You want to see Australia or New Zealand? Go do it! Cruises take you all over the place. They offer exciting excursion opportunities at each destination. You always have choices. You always see new things, many of which are once in a lifetime opportunities because you don’t have to do any excessive planning.

Expensive? Are you joking?! Staying at most two or three-star hotels in a major city for less than a week will cost way more than a seven day cruise! And that doesn’t take into consideration the fact that you’re getting free food! Sure, you have to pay for drinks. And sure, you have to be back on the ship at a set time each day. But that’s a small price to pay for such a great vacation opportunity.

The Port of Los Angeles is about to get a fully refurbished Royal Princess, which will be cruising to places like the West Coast, Alaska, Miami, and Mexico. I know I will definitely be one of the first back on that ship when it finally sails again in March.

My Favorite Trails In And Around Los Angeles

Living in Los Angeles has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in life, but it wouldn’t be the same without all the great outdoor activities available throughout the city. Who would expect L.A. to be a mecca for hiking? Expected or not, it’s one of the greatest spots for hiking, with hills all around! If you’re willing to travel, you can find even more to do. Here are some of my favorite trails in and around L.A.!

  1. No list of L.A. hiking adventures would be complete without a traditional stop at Runyon Canyon. It’s a great place to spot minor celebrities
    The joke is that going to Runyon for a “hike” is more like driving an hour for a glorified walk, but there are still some steep spots where you can get a decent workout.
  2. Wildwood in Burbank is one of my favorite areas to explore. It’s two miles to the summit tower, where you have the option of turning around for the two mile return trip, or heading down the four mile fire road. If you’re in the mood for a (much) longer hike, you can start in Brand Park, Stough Canyon Park, or La Tuna closer to Tujunga on the other side of the mountain. If you’re up for it, you could hang out here all day.
  3. Another deeply connected set of trails will take you as close to the Hollywood sign as you’re ever likely to get. You’ll find it at Griffith Park, another spot where you could spend all day if you’re in the mood for a bit of exploration. Also in the vicinity are Griffith Observatory and the L.A. Zoo.
  4. My absolute favorite trail in L.A. is Temescal Canyon in Topanga State Park, right near the Pacific Palisades. Again, you can spend all day hiking from one place to another. A far-out spot called “the Hub” is miles past “Skull Rock”, and a number of trails intersect at that spot. Most people turn back there. If you do this hike during the rainy season, you might catch a glimpse of a (very small) waterfall.
  5. If you’re willing to travel outside of Los Angeles, check out the Bridge to Nowhere. It’s about a ten mile out-and-back hike in the San Gabriel Mountains. There isn’t much elevation gain, but you’ll have to cross a rocky creek once or twice or eight times depending on how far off the path you find yourself. It can be strenuous, but it isn’t too bad. At the end of the hike, there is literally a bridge in the middle of nowhere, just above a nice swimming hole. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can bungee jump from the bridge.

How To Prepare For A Los Angeles Earthquake

Living near a faultline can be scary, or at least it is for me. They’re uncommon in many parts of France, but here in Los Angeles, you’ll experience an earthquake sooner or later for sure. Scientific predictions of when the next “big one” might occur never seem to be trustworthy, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared. Here are a few things I know I’ll be doing “just in case.”

First, I like to know exactly where I’ll go if the worst happens. If an earthquake starts while at home, it’s best to take cover under a strong piece of furniture. Stop what you’re doing, drop to the floor, find cover, and put your arms over the top of your head.

If there is a building collapse and you can’t get out, you should know what to do. Rescuers will be looking for signs of life, so your earthquake preparation kit should include a few. Flashlights, headlamps, and extra batteries are must-have items. If trapped, periodically knock in order to let others know where you are. Be careful not to make the collapse worse.

Speaking of a preparation kit, it should include several obvious items: food, water, extra blankets. Make sure you have enough supplies to last a couple of weeks. Glow-sticks can come in handy. Be careful with candles. Include a first-aid kit, and don’t forget tools. Last but not least, make sure you have a wad of extra cash.

It’s also not a bad idea to learn appropriate first-aid skills. You might not need them for an earthquake, but sooner or later there will come a time when they come in handy. Learn CPR. Find a local Red Cross station. They usually provide classes on a regular basis to show you how to deal with these situations safely.

After an earthquake, search for potential problems with your home. Is the gas leaking? Are there newly exposed wires? Make sure you know how to quickly disconnect the right utilities at the right time. It could save your life.

If It’s Not French What Is It? Part 2

One of my favorite breakfast foods, French Toast is another misnomered foods. The first recipe for French Toast dates all the way back to the 4th or 5th Century, found in a Latin recipe book called the Apicius. But they opted to use honey as maple syrup wasn’t a thing back in Ancient Rome.

The next reference to French Toast wasn’t found until the 14th Century in Germany. Called Arme Ritter or poor knights. And it wasn’t until the 15th Century until recipes for Pain Perdu (what we know as French Toast) began to surface. Pain Perdu translates to Lost Bread because in France it is typically made with bread that has already gone stale. However, in America, we consider French Toast a breakfast item whereas, in France, it’s eaten as dessert or as a snack.

French Toast is made by taking a piece of bread and soaking it in an egg mixture (eggs, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg). Then bread is then pan-fried in butter until brown and cooked through. In America, it is traditionally served with a generous helping of maple syrup on top but it can be served with jam, honey or fruit.

So, based on this research, it seems that French Toast or bread soaked in egg and then fried first originated in Ancient Rome, therefore, making this delicious breakfast or snack item – Italian.


Helpful Tips For Finding A Job In Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the most exciting cities on the planet. With a population of nearly 4 million people, the city itself covers over 500 square miles. Within that area, there are so many things to see and do that you never have to worry about being bored.

One of the biggest downside to LA, however, is that the cost of living is quite high. If you plan on living in the area, you need a good paying job. Otherwise, you may have a hard time finding a place that you can afford to rent or buy.

Fortunately, there are some ways that you can improve your chances of getting a great job. Check out these helpful tips for finding a job in Los Angeles to get started on your job search today:

1. Decide what it is that you really want to do. Sit down and think about your dream job. What type of company do you want to work for? What days of the week do you want to work? What duties do you want your job to entail? What kind of work would you find emotionally satisfying? Answering these types of questions can help you figure out which positions you want to apply for.

2. Write your resume. Make sure to draw particular attention to any skills that are a good fit for the positions that interest you the most. There are plenty of helpful online guides that will take you step-by-step through the process of putting together a well-written, eye-catching resume.

3. Reach out to your personal network. Talk to all of your friends, family members, and acquaintances to see if they know of any job openings in your desired field. Many of today’s employers rely on referrals rather than advertising jobs to the general public. If you already have a contact at a company, it is a great way to get your foot in the door, improving your chances of getting hired.

4. Fine-tune your interview skills. Even if you have the best resume in the world and are the most qualified candidate, you may not get hired if you don’t perform well during your interview. The best way to ensure that everything goes smoothly is by preparing in advance. Look up common interview questions online and figure out how you would answer them. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to get tripped up during your interview.

Whether you’re in Los Angeles or New York, using these tips for finding a job will help you land the position of your dreams.