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i am woman, hear me roar


Being a woman is complicated. There are so many things that embody a woman's essence. Hormones? Full moon? The morning sun? But still nobody really knows what makes a woman the woman that she is. And for now, this is not really about the glory of our womanhood. Being a woman myself, I still wonder why I can be such a bitch sometimes, and how some women can also be one under a nice blue sky.

The subject on feisty women came up when I happen to bump into a number of mommies in their best environment: bringing the kids to school. Like Hazel's post on the same thought, you begin to wonder why as busy as it is to be a mother, they still have time to gossip. Or as adults, can still be like the highschool bullies. And I don't even have a child to bring to school, I just happen to live just beside one.

I had to bring Vidar to the cat lady for our 4 day trip to Switzerland & I was running a bit late. Carrying the 7 kilo Vidar in his box, I stepped out of the house & noticed right away one mommy sharply looking at me from head to toe. Probably not a cat lover? As I approach them, four mommies in total with three kids scattered around the 1 meter wide passage way to the parking, nobody budged an inch. Can I just shove this kid a bit to the side with Vidar's box? And as I was ready to step ahead, one mommy just happen to drop the pacifier she was holding in front of me, slowly picked it up & said, "Ooops." I glared at her face & she looked away. After almost a half hour, I came back finding them now in the park, engaged in what I can assume,
if not the intent morning gossiping, are brainstorming for the best school system for their children. Fine by me as long as they don't block our way.

I remember one time I went with a friend to pick up her kids from school. As we were walking from the parking, I noticed a group of mommies who stopped speaking as we passed by in front of them & literally gave us the side eye from head to toe. I asked my friend what that was all about & she said it's nothing new. She said they've always been like that then we shrugged them off. But the side eye. I haven't seen one since I was 14.

One teacher in the school here would take her cigarette break just in front of our house. And everytime I happen to go out when she's there, I'd say bonjour & she would just wryly smile back at me. I guess she was not too happy when I expressed my slight discontent of her closing my window shutters, for a few times, to sit on our bench out front. The other day, Charlotte, our neighbor's daughter saw me pass by in front of the school & asked me if she could introduce me to her friends, five of them all huddled by the gate, as "la dame qui parle en anglais" (the woman who speaks english). With all the commotion, I saw that the teacher saw us from afar & the next day, for the first time, she magically acknowledged my courtesy with a bonjour & a shy smile.

As a girl, I've done all the side eyes, the gossiping, the mocking but as a woman, I don't really remember doing those when I'm out with my girlfriends. The mommies I know are even so busy that they don't even have time to loiter around the schools. It's not really a French thing or an asian thing. It is just simply being part of a woman. I actually admit that when my husband asks me what's even going on in my head, I would stop & actually do wonder.

But I do wonder how different women from different cultural backgrounds can differ from one other. Can a Filipina be so different from a Thai? Or the French woman from a Spanish?
Women are really complicated. Even their roar is complicated.


Makis

From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.

15 comments:

  1. globetrekkermelMarch 26, 2009 6:44 AM

    Hello Makis, I stumbled on your blog as i was looking for accomodations in Marseille in June.My name is Mel and i am a filipino who lives in san fancisco. I will be in Marseille in June doing volunteer work as an English teacher in
    an after school program for underprivileged musulman kids in the housing projects in quartier nord de Marseille. Looking forward to meeting Filipinos in Marseille. I will be there 2 weeks.Any ideas for reasonable accomodations? Will be thankful if you can give me some infos; my email is:thepinkswan9@cs.com or my msn is:stearns_6Hotmail.com.
    Love reading your blog.It is neat.
    Mel

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  3. I don't think it is the cultural differences nor the nationality ...that's just us women from all walks of life.

    There are different kinds of women but I can give you two kinds of them :

    Lady Sense : has a sound judgment, hard working, with common sense, self esteem and likes compliments but she reacts simply

    Lady Non-sense : is like a hunter searching for a prey, desperate for recognition, someone that needs attention but never really have enough to share

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  4. i felt that way when we transfered in Nice, from my old chanbre de bon in Beasoleil. Neighbors arre looking at me, like we filipinos looking at an American woman in our area in Philippines.

    Its not the race that makes it.
    I think it is more of, how these ladies are educated themselves.
    re: the gossiping.
    Even mga madames, in dinner serving ko, sus, malala, alam nila ang buhay ng bawat isa sa Monaco society.

    All i do is say bonjour even I dont know much about my neighbors. If they answer fine, if they dont, my life still moves on...

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  5. I still think that being a bitch and being French produces a very special mix ;)

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  6. globetrekkermelMarch 27, 2009 2:28 AM

    HI Makis, thanks for haze's email address.This is a follow up with my previous post.Just want to tell you, your blog is a joy to read.I have been to Europe many times especially France and interestingly enough , I feel comfortable in France more so than the other European countries I have been to.There is something in the French way of life that just suits me.The Language for one thing is kinda special mainly because of the accent.I can actually speak it with a pretty decent accent ( so my teacher in Alliance Francaise says , who knows)LOL... that is a very shallow reason but hey , i think it is out of this world. Nobody speaks a language as soothing as the french. I maybe partial about the language but i think it is true. I would come to live in France anytime.Though Paris is not something i would fancy to live.More like the country on the south is my choice if i have a choice.Maybe someday I will move to France.LOL! Meantime,I have to stick it out in San Francisco which is not actually bad and is voted as the most European american city for years.There is a considerable amount of french population in the san francisco area mainly beacuse of Silicon Valley and the hospitality and food industry.Well, thank you for posting your blog . Very neat to read.I can actually relate to the woman stuff that you have touched on. More power to you girl!Keep blogging . Will check your blog for future postings.

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  7. Just this morning I was walking our dog and two women were coming up the street talking and pushing their kids in strollers. They passed right behind me (as Bella pulled the leash to sniff something on the ground), stopped their conversation and said "hi" to me. I turned around to face them and greeted them back. I've only seen them once or twice and I wouldn't call them neighbors since they don't really live on the same street but I'm not surprised they said hi to me. That's just how people are around here. When we lived in Emeryville, it was the same thing. Complete strangers (men and yes, women) would say hello to me or at least give me a smile as I pass them.

    I have no doubt that women you've described exist here too (just look at all the reality shows). No matter what nationality or culture, there are truly confident people and those whose confidence comes from looking down on others (or looking sideways in this case:).
    Although sometimes I wonder if French women are a different category altogether:)

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  8. Hi Mel! You are actually no stranger to France & the French so I'm sure it'll be more pleasure than work for you :) If you have to visit, I'll be happy to meet you up in our place, Spéracèdes, around 7 km from Grasse. And I do hope you'll be able to meet up with Hazel too in Marseille ;)

    So true, Haze! And because women are so complicated, there would be a hundred kinds of women in the world! LOL!

    Francesca, marami ka na pala alam na wento sa mga taga Monaco!

    Kala, I really don't know but what I agree with you!

    Hi Joanne! I really heard that the Americans do greet everybody in public places. Although in France it's the same. You'll even have better service if you say a firm "Bonjour" to nobody in particular if you enter a shop. And here in our small barrio, we also do that. Some people even stop by & make small talk while we're chopping our wood every saturday. But there are really just difficult French women. In my clinic, I always say bonjour to the receptionist when I enter & she never responded, let alone a courtesy look. But the man receptionist with her would always respond with a smile. Ba't ganon? LOL!

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  9. hi,Maki.
    Been a while i havent visited here.
    Anyway, gossiping seems everywhere and any gender do them,too.

    What i really dont like is the Eyeing thing.It's insulting.Those people must be simple mind.Don't mind them they dont deserve your attention.
    But if they keep on blocking your way.Then, be blunt,telling them to move. They're try to size you up.Stupid,i know.

    Anyway, i hope you'll meet some nice people there.There's always some.

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  10. I think the looks one gets mainly from people who've not travelled much, and haven't seen too many foreigners. We're a novelty to them. It happens to most foreigners, I think. Once on an airplane I sat next to a young black American, who lived in Manila and was complaining about Filipinos giving him looks all the time, even whispering amongst themselves when he'd pass by. Anyway, after the novelty fades away, they'll just stop looking. Or we just stop noticing it :)

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  11. Hi Maya! I can say there are more wonderful than questionable people here. One time, I was carrying loads of grocery bags when I ran into an old lady around late 50ish. I almost came out as the freak with my surprise when she offered to help me carry my bags!

    Hi Apol! Well it seems these women are not so happy with anything new or different then because the side-eyeing really cracks me up :)

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  12. lol, i thought you could only find such kind of people here in dijon, nationwide din pala, ngek..

    well, i think pinoys pay more respect to other people than the frenchies do.. in general, medyo racist pa nga.. hmm, i won't add more, baka sobrang humaba pa ng message ko, lol..

    women are complicated, ok.. french women? even more!

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  13. Naku, Ana, I cannot agree more. Talagang racists yung iba & hirap mag salita pero talagang mas complicated talaga ang mga french women :)

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  14. Kala, you crack me up!

    Je t'embrasse Makis! When are you planning a visit to Paris?

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