Tuesday 7 February 2006

Northern Exposure

NOW I’M IN NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE visiting Meri and Elly, and it occurred to me earlier as they took me about to get a sense of Newcastle that this is the farthest north I’ve ever been! It’s cold, and windy, but we had a great day today and I’m very happy to be here with them, and back in the UK, where I’ve been abundantly blessed with good friends and of course, the love of my life.

I took a lot of pictures and expect to take more as we walk along the beach – the North Sea! I got my first full-on view of it today as we drove by. I’ll post to Flickr as soon as I can get some sleep.

More thoughts about France

I want to take a moment and thank everyone who responded to my expression of upset with what I experienced in France. The responses have all had some very interesting insights and given me much to think about – both how I am in the world, and how others are.

I realize my particular blunt approach to life isn’t comfortable for many people within my own culture, much less others. I still stick by my point that there’s a bridge to be gapped, but it’s clearer to me now what the dynamic is, and perhaps why. One thing I know from here on in is to be careful when traveling on my own. And I also hope that my post about Limoges was very clear in acknowledging the many wonderful people I met within the context of the conference. So long as I was with friends and colleagues, everything was fine – better than fine. My challenges really only occurred when I was alone.

I’m in the UK for a few weeks and go back to France for the W3C Tech Plenary, so I’ll have a new opportunity to visit with a deeper understanding of not just our differences, but what common goals we share.

So thanks again to my wonderful French hosts and colleagues, who most certainly made the experience, and to the many people who posted here and emailed me with insights and perspectives that are certainly serving to open my mind to a broader understanding.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 18:35 | Comments (29)

Comments (29)

  1. Well, we gotta get you up to Oslo or at least Edinburgh. Both are beautiful in the summertime.

    BTW – while you’re there, pick up KT Tunstall‘s album… you’ll love it. The Editors are also a worthwhile purchase. You can’t get either back here. At least not yet.

  2. The furthest North of the UK? You haven’t visted Scotland then?

    It’s not great but its good fun. Plenty of battered confectionary and pizzas -_-.

  3. Walking on the beach at Newcastle-upon-Tyne?
    That’s a bit desperate isn’t it?

  4. Molly, aren’t you coming to WWW2006? Edinburgh is a fantastic city, you don’t need an excuse to go there, but that would be a good one.

    @Zach – Whoa there, didn’t you get any further than East Kilbride? Scotland is one of the greatest places to visit, and a pretty good place to live as well. Perhaps you needed a better guide? πŸ˜‰

  5. Get yourself up to Edinburgh Molly! It’s only a couple of hours from Newcastle. I live down on the south coast of England, but Edinburgh is one of my Favourite places in the UK.

    Mind you, I am a bit biased, my wife’s from there.

  6. As a Geordie lass now living “down South” I really miss Newcastle. I think it would take me a while to get used to the cold again, when I first came to London I didn’t have a proper coat for 3 years because it never seemed to be winter!

  7. Molly,

    We would like to thank you for everything!
    Your presence changed the face of our event. We will be thanksful for that forever.
    A lot of people are very interested about CSS and standards in France. You could see how people appreciated your works and in particularly your book!
    We are very sorry about the bad impressions that french people gave you in Limoges. You know, here, it’s very difficult with people, in particularly during the first contacts. But, when you know them (and unfortunatly, it takes some time), you can be the best friends in the world. It’s not something about the french / american relationship, I think it will be the same if you were from another nationality. It’s just that we are rude and I’m sorry for that. You can be sure that everybody on the festival have really appreciated you and we’re gonna try to sensibilize people again and again about the way they should welcome people from overseas. The concept of the webjam with young designers from all over the world show that we can be very open minded. What else, that can I ad. I totally agree with you, I was born here in Limoges, I travel a lot and I have the same feeling. I go to the States frequently and I can say I was always been well treated and welcomed.
    I hope, we will have the honor to see you again in Limoges or somewhere else on a preselection event of the Festival.
    Regarding the CSS and the standards at the Festival, it’s definitly a good place to sensibilize the designers. We will be very happy to improve this part for the next edition. Probably, we will ask for you to take part in our international advisory council.

    Once again, thanks for all.
    See you soon.


  8. Hi Molly. Hope you’re enjoying Newcastle. Contrary to popular belief (English belief, at any rate), it’s really quite nice “up north”.

    Say hello to Meri and Elly for me. Quite sad that I have to get people to say hello to my friends for me, but never mind! I’ll be seeing all three of you in a month anyway, in Austin!

  9. Molly – how are you managing with the accents…?

    I’m a “Scouser” living in Newcastle. For the first 6 months I didn’t understand them and they didn’t understand me….

  10. Go further north! The north-east coast is beautiful, particularly around Bamburgh. The castle overlooking the beach is lovely, and the beach at this time of year will be empty and windswept and dramatic πŸ™‚ Glorious!

    Great site btw, I felt I had to delurk to encourage you to go up the coast a bit.

  11. If you happen to make it to Edinburgh in a couple of weeks time, you are more than welcome along to our third Scottish blogmeet! Details on (and apologies for leaping at the chance to give it a plug on here!)

    Of course I’m a Weegie by heart so if you only visit one city in Scotland, choose Glasgow! πŸ˜‰

  12. Molly, the Meri link is broken. Paul

  13. Molly, you’ll have a great time at the Plenary. The place we’ll be is AWESOME, and the people are lovely (very friendly, don’t mind that you don’t speak French as long as you ask first – in French – if they speak English), and it’s not busy, so they’re pretty happy to have the business. And, the food… oh… my…. the food. Yer gonna thing you’ve died and gone to gustatory heaven.

  14. That should be “Yer gonna think”… I’m a good typer.

  15. Hello Molly.
    About your bad experience with french people, I remember reading a story in a Gregory Bateson book that can perhaps explain part of the mechanism :
    It is a story about US troops in England during World WarII : They had lots of problems with local populations because of their attitude with girls.

    Bateson (I think it was him, but maybe i’m wrong here, it may be a study that he reports in his book) went to investigate, and discovered that the origin of the problem was related to how people are supposed to behave in relationships :

    In both countries (uk and us) a good relationship starts with the first encounter and follows a few classical steps : going out together, chatting, kissing, meeting the other’s family, having sex, marrying, procreating…. But the succession of this steps is not the same…

    In the case of US troops, kissing was an activity that was supposed to happen soon, the first time you went out with a girl, and it was not a very engaging act. In contrast, for english people, a kiss was a very involving thing, nearly the last action before having sex. A girl accepting a kiss in fact delivered the message : “ok for sex now”…

    As a result : the US soldiers were generally considered rude and sexually aggressive by the local populations, when they just tried an inoffensive kiss on a girl…

    And when an english girl would accept the kiss, she would then engage in an explicit sexual behavior that schocked the poor US romantic kisser….

    I think a similar mechanism is behind your bad experience in Limoges : in many french regions, being kind and smiling at people is a familiar attitude that is very unusual in the first stages of a relation… Once you are introduced to someone, friendliness becomes natural and normal. That’s why you found everyone so nice when they “had a reason” to talk to you, and so cold in all other “anonymous” occasions…

    I hope this first time in France was only the beginning of a great love story !

  16. If you like beer, try the local “Newky Brown”, it’s an excellent one πŸ˜‰

  17. Dan, don’t get me wrong. Im Scottish by blood and love the place. It has its charms.

  18. Molly, Just remember – if you do go to Newcastle, don’t take any coals with you. They already have plenty. πŸ™‚

  19. “…there’s a bridge to be gapped”. That threw me for a few seconds. I guess you meant “gap to be bridged”. πŸ™‚

  20. Hello Molly Welcome To Uk

  21. thanks for your sharing

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