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  • The emigrant's destiny: The foreign country has not become home, but home has become foreign.

    --Alfred Polger (d. 1955), Der Emigrant und die Heimat

    Emigranten-Schicksal: Die Fremde ist nicht Heimat geworden. Aber die Heimat Fremde.

    Between 2007 and 2009, I lived in Los Angeles after living in Paris for many years. My Paris blog (before and after my Los Angeles sojourn) is Rue Rude.

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    « Convertibles in the sun and rain | Main | The pedicure »

    02 October 2007

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    Fascinating Sedulia: I seem to have known this instinctively all my life - that it is important to be seated in the centre of the table and not on the end - away from the action :-) But, here in the UK, whenever I've tried to allocate seating at a dinner party, I've felt antipathy to this. I'm not sure whether this is because the English viscerally don't like to be told what to do or whether it's because couples really seem to want/need to stay glued together!

    I can confirm that it works this way in the French countryside. At all the lunches and dinner we go to, we are placed by the host or hostess. We can't choose to sit together. It is part of the formality of the French eating experience. I like it.

    Life is full of coincidences. My friend is getting married in Canada this coming weekend. She called me on Sunday to let me know that her fiance's parents have a weird custom of not seating spouses together unless they've been married less than a year. She and I had never heard of this custom but now it seems that I have found it is more common. The idea definitely makes sense to me now that I've had time to think about it. But, if my friend had not warned me (and our other friends), we probably would have thought there was a mistake and reseated ourselves! A terrible faux pas.

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    Today's quotation

    • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

        –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

      À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

    Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

    • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.