Sunday, 4 January 2015

Don’t mix love with Green Cards, and New Year Greetings(下心と謹賀新 年)

red noel

My readers would remember that I vowed to glow in the darkest coldest place like a tiny firefly.  What I meant was that I would uplift myself without anyone’s help nor the warmth of the sun.  However, a thing happened on New Year’s Eve that made me rethink about showing my positive mood outwardly. 

I had joined a community group where French and English-speakers meet so they can both practice their second language.  Thanks to my years in Australia, my English has reached the level where the proof-reader of my books can only find less than 1% mistakes in my English.  Even then, they are more like re-phrasing.  So I fitted right in and have been exchanging information with the English expats.  Naturally when I learnt of a New Year Eve’s party I bought the ticket believing to be the extension of what has been so far. 

Not quite.  I showed up dressed casually and suitable for a Count Down March towards the Arc of Triumph at midnight.  As any Japanese would do, I arrived early and started to read a book.  Then a crowd of French arrived, all dressed up.  I contemplated going home to change and come back, but then I saw this group of Asian girls.  They were dressy all right, but in ultra mini-skirt that barely covered their underwear…despite the fact it was minus 2 degrees cold outside!  They were not speaking Japanese, but the expectant of look on their face suddenly made me recall this French girl who was complaining that three American men had proposed her just to get French Green Card. 

I thought ‘Rubbish!’  As a woman who acquired Australian permanent residency on her own merit, I shall leave Paris if I cannot extend my visa on my own merit.  And then it dawned on me.  People at the party venue must be seeing me as another desperate Asian hoping to hook up with a French man.  I looked around and was met with two types of looks: some probing, some disapproving my attitude.  After all I was reading a book thinking the party had not yet begun when in fact the dating game had already started. I blushed and quickly gobbled down the meal, after all I paid hefty Euros for this, and bolted out of the Café.  

As I ran out I vowed not to befriend a French man until I have extended my Carte de Sejour solely on my merit.  I would not want him to suspect that I had ulterior motives.  Besides, as much as I admire Paris and its history, I still have my hopes for Canberra, the capital of Australia, known as the city of brainy people.  I would have loved to live there and I still can when the time is right.  In the meantime, it seems better that I glow and smile privately lest being mistaken to be soliciting for attention.   

I ran straight to this pub called Carr’s where English-speaking stand-up comedians were performing.  I had a good laugh and the performers and some audiences marched down L'Avenue des Champs-Élysées together.  My 2015 started with a firework and laser beam stretching out from Arc de Triomphe.

Copyright 2009 to 2015 by Mirror Miroir/THE THIRD RED APPLE All Rights Reserved.

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覚えている読者もおられるだろうが私は暗くて寒い場所で蛍の如く輝くことを目標としました。決して大袈裟なことではなく、誰の手も借りず、太陽の温もりにも頼らずとも落ち着いて微笑むことを旨としただけです。だが大晦日のある事で表向きには無表情でいた方がよいかなと思い直しました。 

パリで英語圏の人間とフランス人が交流を通じて互いの言語を練習し合う会に参加しました。長年豪州で勉強続けた甲斐あって私が執筆した英語の本を英国人に直してもらっても1%も間違いはなく、しかも間違いというより別の言い回しを提案される程度です。十分フランス人の英語を私は直してあげられます。生活情報交換に便利な会で大晦日のパーテイにも喜んで参加しました。 

私は普段着より少しお洒落した程度で夜中に花火を見に行く服装で会場に着き本を読んで参加者を待っていました。すると皆ドレスアップで到着。家に着替えに戻ろうかと考えていたら日本人ではない東洋女性が続々と到着。零下2度の寒さだというのにミニスカートで際どい姿のツワモノも。みんな物欲しげな顔で何かを待っている様子。永住権欲しさにアメリカ人3人に求婚されて嫌がっていたフランス女性の話も思い出します。 

何てこと…実力で豪州の永住権を掴み取った私はパリだって自力でビザが延長できないなら潔く去る覚悟の大和撫子です。だがそこで気が付いたのですが周りから見れば私も同じむじなに見られている?ということでした。周りの男性の視線を見回して私は頬が赤くなり、急いで食事を飲み込みました。結構お高いチケット代でしたから勿体無くて…それでも早々に店を飛び出したのです。 

走りながら私はビザを自力で延長できるまでフランス男性とはお近づきにはなるまいと心に決めました。嫌ですよ、永住権目的かも?と疑われるのは。それにパリの歴史を評価しても私は豪州の首都キャンベラへの希望も捨ててはいません。豪州のインテリが集まる街なので前から住んでみたかったのです。まだ永住権あるから機会があれば不可能ではありません。(シドニーは人気ある大きな街ですが首都ではありません。)それまでの間、表向きに笑顔を浮かべるのはやめておこうと思います。 

私が向かったのは英国式パブで英語圏の芸人による漫才が行われている所。ひとしきり笑った後、皆でシャンゼリゼ大通りに繰り出しました。凱旋門から放たれた花火とレーザー光線と共に私の2015年は始まったのです。