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Inappropriate in public since July 2006

Maureen Quinlan Jouhet Archive

Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

A Tiny Little Nose, Curly Hair and the Longest Umbilical Cord I’d Ever Seen

June 22nd, 2009
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FRANCE-

We waited.

And then we waited some more.

He just didn’t want to come.

Unfortunately for me, they count 41 weeks as the ideal gestation period for a baby here in France while in the United States we count 40. We’re just impatient, I guess.

And so by my U.S.-friendly calculations we were already waiting an extra week to see our little guy, which was hard enough. He was being fashionably late.

My due date came and went. No baby.

My mother’s visit to see her first grandchild came and went. Still no baby.

(more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Wine and Cheese for Strength?

November 2nd, 2008
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

You have to believe me.

I have not really been ignoring my blog for the past six months.

I write for it religiously.

Whenever anything hits me just so, I sit in my car writing away. I just have been forgetting to tap my fingers on the keyboard when I get home.

And you’ve missed some doozies too.

I wrote a great one about moving to the suburbs and feeling terribly guilty because we aren’t any friendlier with our neighbors than we had been in the city.

(more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Hoof-flavored Jell-O and Other Tasty Treats.

April 11th, 2008
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR.—

I am not from a Jell-O family.

We just didn’t develop the custom.

Never once have I uttered any of the following phrases, “I would have made Jell-O, but I didn’t have any mini-marshmallows,” “Can you please pass me the turkey- shaped Jell-O” or “It’s not a party without Jell-O.” (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

A Time to raise a glass and kiss as many relatives as we possibly can before settling in with a big bowl of rice.

January 3rd, 2008
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR.—

We survived the meals, the gifts and the togetherness of last week and now we’re ready to face it all again, albeit with a different crowd. (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Things Only Move Slowly When You Need Them to Move Fast … and Vice Versa.

November 12th, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR.—

Perhaps you have heard.

Things move slowly in France.

Or, rather, things move very very fast in the U.S.

Normally I would agree with that statement.

After the 18 months that I’ve lived here I have never once uttered the phrase, “God that was fast.” (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Did I Receive a Taco-Holding Lesson in My Highchair and Forgot? How Do You Teach Someone to Hold a Taco Anyway?

September 22nd, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR.—

Being an American is about more than knowing how to sing the national anthem–even if we can’t hit that high note). 

More than being able to defend baseball as a game worth watching–even though not much happens.

It’s about knowing how to hold a taco–even if we don’t know how we do it. (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

A National Vacation Schedule? Absolutely! It’s August and Nothing is Happening in France. Nothing.

August 23rd, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Auvergne, Fr.—

I came back this week from a few weeks in Chicago and found that something had changed.

It was like that British Airways commercial.

A guy wakes up and goes out onto the street in New York and it’s empty.

Someone else wakes up, goes outside and finds that he’s the last person on earth.

Whoever wrote that commercial must have been in France in August (or on Sunday, but that’s another post for another time.) (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Standing on the Side of the Road … Waiting and Waiting … Until, Finally, It Rained Sausages. Little, Tiny Bite-Sized Ones. Yum.

July 16th, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

This weekend the Tour de France began its trip through the Alps.

A sport that is very much in the “other” category for many Americans, here professional cycling is a way of life.

Fred and I live with in a few minutes of the Puy de Dome, a giant volcano which has occasionally appeared on the tour’s itinerary, and so most Saturdays and Sundays we are stuck in an only-in-France traffic jam as a steady stream of men in hot pink jerseys and strange-looking shoes pedal furiously one behind the other up, down and through the volcanoes. (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Social Pressure Is Rarely A Good Thing, But At Least It Keeps My Shoes Clean.

June 17th, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

The first time I saw this little gem in the produce section at my supermarket I did what I always do.

I smiled, dragged Fred over to look at it and walked away, only to return a few seconds later with my camera.

I love stuff like this. (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Exporting American Culture Isn’t So Easy When All That It’s Known For Is Pancakes & Syrup and Ross & Rachel

May 26th, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

Years ago my friend Liz and I had a conversation.

It went something like this:

If Belgium has beer, Ireland has music, France has wine, Spain has tapas, Italy has gelato, and New Zealand has kiwi fruit…what exactly does the United States have?

Our little make-your-own-country forged from immigrants has everything from everywhere, but nothing of its own.

Well, maybe we can offer the world high-fructose corn syrup and gas guzzling cars, but again this is not that kind of post. (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

I Live in the Kind of Place Where if I Hear Someone Say “Hello” I Know it’s for Me and then I Get Ready for the Personal Space Invader

May 2nd, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

English is not really very popular with the people here.

It’s not that they didn’t study it.

They did.

It’s not that they couldn’t read the Los Angeles Times if they wanted to.

They could. (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

It is so True That French Women Don’t Get Fat. But Did You Know That American Women Do Not Need to Go to the Gym When They Live in France?

April 5th, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

If I had moved to Argentina, I would have learned how to dance the Tango.

If I had moved to Russia, I might have acquired a taste for fine vodka.

If I had moved to Sweden, I could have learned how to manufacture moderately-priced, ultra-modern furniture.

But I didn’t.

I moved to France.

And in France, I learned how to eat.

(more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Dreams: Maybe Missing Home Is Making Me See Things I Wish I Was Really Seeing

March 18th, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

I think I must be missing home. And my subconscious is missing it more.

Dreaming while awake is a strange feeling. My brain is adjusting, but not nearly fast enough to the true reality.

It seems to be satisfying its need to be elsewhere and having a litle fun at the same time.

I have decided that I’m not secretly miserable, but that it’s just plain normal to miss somethings that used to be so familiar. But sometimes I worry. (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

The Concept of ‘Pacte Civil deSolidarité’ Has Made My Views on Marriage Seem Like Those of a Conservative Weirdo, How Did That Happen?

February 26th, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

A friend of mine told me a story the other day.

She had been on vacation in Italy. Her family were having dinner at a restaurant and a wedding reception was being held in another room.

When she went to powder her nose, she discovered the bride taking a break from the festivities to breastfeed her child in the bathroom. She was shocked.

I was not. Ah Europe.

(more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

On Learning to Cope in a Place Where Driving is a Blood Sport

February 2nd, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

My car has yellow headlights.

I own a tiny black car with yellow headlights.

The lights remind me of a cat. An evil cat with sickly yellow eyes.

On Halloween.

(more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Stranger: On Being In a Book Club and Finding Life in France a Little Bit More Normal Now and Feeling Weird About It

January 10th, 2007
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

I joined a book club.

My mom is in a book club.

I had threatened to join a group once before, but I knew it would never work out.

What if the book was bad? (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Holidays: Christmas in France is Not Necessarily about the Presents, but You Already Knew That

December 21st, 2006
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

It is the last week at school before the holidays.

You remember the feeling.

The anxiety is growing.

The excitement is about to reach the tipping point.

(more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

A Meeting with the Man Who Doesn’t Smile and Feeling Sorry for the Woman Who Has to Have Her Nervous Breakdown In Public

December 10th, 2006
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

The official workweek here in France is 35 hours.

That’s right, the maximum number of hours a full-time employee is allowed to work is 35.

This law is enforced.

However, I have recently found out why.

It’s not to have more time to read the paper in a café or shop for haute couture. They need the other seven to ten hours the rest of the world spends working to wait in line.

(more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Goblins: A Day to Celebrate the Un-Dead Here In France, What Are You Kidding? Everywhere but the Patisseries, Halloween Is Just Another Day

October 31st, 2006
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

Without much in the way of fanfare, Halloween has arrived here in France.

There are no little Spidermans (or Speedermans, as the character is called by French children) roaming the streets.

No girls taking advantage of their big chance to dress like Paris Hilton.

Halloween is just the day before All Saints Day. (more…)


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

Phrases Such as ‘The Universe Has a Sense of Humor’ Are Terribly Over-Used, Yet That’s the Best Phrase I Can Think of to Describe This

October 13th, 2006
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

AUVERGNE, FR-

Since I have known Fred - in fact, before I even “knew him” knew him - I knew that he hated his job.

It was one of the first things he told me.

Hi, my name is Fred and I hate my job.

The work was boring.

The company lacked a soul. (more…)