The case of the missing joggers in France

It’s been roughly more than two years that I have been living in France, and the one disturbing news incident that keeps being repeated intermittently on the news channels, are the cases of the ‘missing joggers’. More specifically, women joggers. This is scary!! This country that has seemed safe to my eyes so far, where no degree of violence has occured  against myself or anyone I know. I do not understand this extreme of violence taking place against women, in this country where I, as a woman have almost always felt safe.

The latest of such news took place a few days ago. A woman in her thirties (like myself), a mother of three, had gone out for a jog in her area called Nimes, apparently a safe place with good residential neighbourhoods. She was murdered in a gruesome way with stones and a pocket knife. The murderer was a man, who according to his neighbours was a ‘nice and polite person’. By the way, the man was British and lived not 300 meters from where the crime was committed.

I cannot pretend to look any other way when there are such horrible crimes being committed in France against women. Women in France are strong, women who don’t think twice about taking up ‘men’s’ jobs, without any strong talk of feminism. Mostly, I feel men and women look at themselves equally (at least in comparison to many other countries, French men and women can look at each other comfortably). So how can such a weird crime committed time and again, be explained?? I hear none or very little news of women abducted and raped in cars, or women killed in scary ways, or people forcing their way into homes of women. But it is this one curious news of abducting women who jog. Since 2011, there have been 3 cases so far of women joggers being abducted, and sometimes whose bodies were never found. (By the way, there is another repetitive news of bodies being found in rivers, but usually not of the joggers).

As a foreigner living in France, how safe should I feel living here? I have mostly lived my life in countries, where as a woman, I’ve had to continuously look out for myself against lecherous men. Compared to those countries, I have a vast sense of liberation living in France, but after having heard of the joggers so often, I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t be taking this freedom for granted. Of course, I always keep my front door locked. Of course, I never open the door to strangers unless I have fired many questions and am convinced there might be no trouble. I keep a wary eye out from my windows to see the comings and goings in the other houses around me. When I am out and about on my own, I am careful, but I admit not as careful as when I used to live in Dubai or India. Unfortunately, both in the UAE and India, women are constantly harassed!! ESPECIALLY if she’s on her own. She has absolutely no freedom to travel. Compared to that bleak scenery, here in France, I can galavant as much as I can, with almost no worry that any man may be leering at me, commenting at me, or even worse, trying to follow me.

Knowing France is so much of a better and nicer country for a woman to live in, it is very sad when I hear of such extreme violence against innocent women. Women who want to go out jogging, have some fresh air, have some solitary time of their own, and then in a few horrific and very scary moments, they lose their lives to demented men! Who are such sick men??! Men who look so ‘polite and nice’??? I am glad I have never put much faith on ‘niceness’ and ‘politeness’. It means nothing to me since they are both superficial traits of human nature. If a person is genuinely nice, that person will go to great lengths, not stop short at nice and polite. But I may be wrong. I wonder if I may have ever met someone with such deranged minds and I may not have recognised at all what danger he/she may be to society.

I think I am going to keep posting any additional missing jogger news to this post, and see by the end of the year, how long the list may get. I am glad, I am not someone who likes to go out jogging at all! But it’s sad for women who are sporty and love to be outdoors, they need to always be on their guard.

http://www.thelocal.fr/page/view/british-man-held-over-murder-of-french-jogger#.UQfNha57dUM

I painted over my Tom’s, and a heart with Bali

A few days ago, I decided to try my hand at painting over my Tom’s shoes. I’d bought them from LA over 2 years ago, and sadly, due to frequent wear and trying to have them washed in my washing machine, a small part of the fabric on my left shoe has gotten torn! Here in Paris, Tom’s isn’t really available in the stores and I like them so much for easy wear!

Since I don’t wear my Toms very often, now with the tear on it and the cold climate here, I decided the best thing to do with it is try my artistic creativity over them. And now that they’re done painting, I like the result so much, that inspite of the tear on one of them, I am looking forward to wearing them in my upcoming vacation to Indonesia soon!! Yippee!

Happy with my tom's

Happy with my tom’s

A closer look

A closer look

The design is something that I borrowed from Etsy. I didn’t want to botch up my first paint job on shoes, so I browsed a little and I found the perfect design on Etsy. Of course the real design work is far nicer than mine. The only difference is that I added the tiny red flowers with a white center to them.

Here’s another craft idea that I completed today. I was in need of using my sequins for a project and I’d been itching to use them because I wanted to make something shiny and cute. So I made a heart design using black felt and built the tassle around it. I feel so fulfilled looking at it, because I think it looks so pretty! I’m going to use this as a sort of hanging, perhaps on the door latch. I’ve embroidered using DMC gold metallic threads which I find gorgeous! I’ve embroidered the words Bali, as I will be there next month, and so I can always be reminded of my excitement to going to Bali.

Looking forward to Bali!

Looking forward to Bali!

Along with a satin flower that I made too

Along with a satin flower that I made too

Snowing on the Champs – Elysées, and a trip to the Edward Hopper art axhibition

Yesterday, I went out with my husband in the evening to the Champs Elysées. He is a fan of the American artist Edward Hopper, and he did not want to miss out on his exhibition, on the Grand Palais. The Grand Palais is a beautiful, grand looking building on the Champs Elysées. What put us off though, was the long serpentine queue for the tickets. Moreover, the queue was in the open, shelterless! People were willing to stand for hours waiting for their tickets happily allowing the snow and rain to fall all around their heads and shoulders. I didn’t get it, I’m not sure if I’ve seen people allowing themselves to freeze to go see any exhibition until now! (by the way, we faced the same situation when there was a skating rink built in the Grand Palais. We had once attempted to get tickets for it, but we saw the queue outside, and it was as long as the queue outside of Louis Vuitton when there’s a sale. It was so long so long so loonngg….!!! Lots of people and their kids hardening themselves against the weather, controlling their urges to pee in such icy winds). But I was also impressed. People can take such pains to enlighten themselves on matters of high art and culture. I liked that attitude.

We waited for about an hour and half. I was well protected with my thick overcoat, with triple sweaters inside and sufficient head protection, thick boots and gloves. Unfortunately many of the folks around us seemed unprepared for the cold and by the time my husband and I entered inside the exhibition center, I saw people around me with hair glistening with melted snow and thoroughly wet. I felt bad especially for the scores of elderly citizen who had braved to come watch the exhibit. It’s surprising that shelters had not been constructed for the queues!

Edward Hopper publicity poster outside of the Grand Palais

Edward Hopper publicity poster outside of the Grand Palais

The queue waiting outside in the snow

The queue waiting outside in the snow

The first painting of E. H. that got sold. It's a famous painting

The first painting of E. H. that got sold. It’s a famous painting

A super duper famous painting of EH.

A super duper famous painting of EH.

After the exhibit, hubby and I had to walk all along Champs Elysées to get to where our car was parked. The ground was slippery and poor him fell quite a few times, and one time he landed badly on his back. The normally speeding cars on the CE were driving slow and with caution, which was good to see for a change.

The worst snowfall that Paris has faced this winter. It was a veritable blizzard

The worst snowfall that Paris has faced this winter. It was a veritable blizzard

Along the Champs Elysées

Along the Champs Elysées

A bistro on the side walks along the Champs Elysées

A bistro on the side walks along the Champs Elysées

The creativity that some people possess, to showcase it on other people's cars! :)

The creativity that some people have, to showcase it on other people’s cars! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nathalie P.

My stunning looking friend Nathalie, is always ever so concious of her weight. Everytime that we’ve lunched or dined together, i notice (not with much discretion) of how little she eats. I tuck in more than half of what she takes. And she’s a role model for all who want to work out and don’t have the courage to get up from their couches! Nathalie is the most active woman I know, and she doesn’t complain (well not that loud) about it. What she accomplishes in a day, I am likely to do so in 3 days. It is a wonder she’s my friend, and I consider myself so lucky!

Nathalie, I want you to be my weight watcher please!! 🙂Image

Marcel Gotlieb

I love French comics ( otherwise known as bande dessiné). The first time I came across the carricaturist Gotlib, I didn’t really find it too funny. Maybe it was because of complicated characters and because my own French wasn’t good enough to get the French nuances. But I appreciated his wonderful drawings. I could keep staring at the book for long, not understanding much of what was written but just looking at his drawings knowing they would be etched in my memory for long. Reading Gotlieb’s biography, I found he had a sad childhood. Somehow I feel that what he may have gone through growing up, reflects in his cartoons. At times they seem a dry and devoid of humour, he can portray a character so well it almost seems harsh.

Here is a short description I am putting of Gotlib’s artowrk that I found on Wikipedia : His trademark style fuses English-style nonsense, Jewish-American humour and French ribaldry, with a penchant for exaggeration of movements and sound effects.

I found a comic strip that I found hilarious! I laughed out loud reading it, the art-work and the dialogues were so funny! It’s a conversation between Tarzan and Gorilla, and Gorilla is teaching him how to yell out loud for Ougl, the elephant.

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