Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Have You Remembered to Unsubscribe…

January 15, 2008

from this blog and to subscribe to the new version, hosted here?

Although I’m leaving this copy to die its natural death, I am now updating the new version only.

Thanks for visiting and see you (I hope) on my own domain.

The new feed is here .


My blog has moved…

January 8, 2008


Just follow the link, there’s a brand new post! And please change your bookmarks accordingly, as the entire content has been moved.

Merci du fond du coeur !

Coming Soon: Transfer to Own Domain

January 8, 2008

I need a little time to make the adjustments necessary to transfer this blog to my own domain…. Watch this space, I’ll let you know when the new location goes live. Thanks for visiting.

Kleber International Conference Center, Bye Bye

January 7, 2008

The Kleber International Conference Center in Paris, which was still being used by the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, has been sold to a Qatari Real Estate Company and will be revamped by Vinci, a leading French company, before it re-opens in 2011 in the form of a luxury hotel.

I worked there as an interpreter on several occasions. I don’t remember the context of all the conferences, but the building was very old, with antique plush fitted carpets everywhere, the acoustics was appalling, so was the air-conditioning, two mutually-exclusive components when it comes to interpreting. If you opened the windows, the noise coming from the Avenue Kleber, close to Place de l’Etoile and the Arch of Triumph, meant we couldn’t hear what the delegates were saying. Bad if you must translate them. If you kept the windows shut, everyone was near boiling-point by the next hour.

But I also have some surprisingly good memories of it. One in particular. There was a very hard meeting of the European Pharmacopeia of the Council of Europe, done in consecutive with another colleague. Simultaneous interpreting would have been hard enough, but those were the days when consecutive was still very much used.

Consecutive interpreting is based on 2 prerequirements: a very good memory, and your own note-taking system. Both are equally necessary, although memory is essential, you cannot just rely on your notes. In this case, remembering long complex names was quite an achievement, so it was necessary to write a lot. So why was it a good meeting? We were in the room with the delegates, which created a collaborative climate making it slightly less difficult, as a meeting.

Before I conclude though, I’d like to remind the younger readers that the Kleber Center had a history of its own. As the daily Le Figaro reports here, during World War II, it was the famous Hotel Majestic where the German military government had established its headquarters. After the war however, it served more peaceful ends: the Paris Peace Agreement was signed here in 1973, putting an end to hostilities between the USA and North Vietnam. But more recently it was used for negotiations on Kosovo, Ivory Coast, and a long list of international issues.

First New Year Jobs!

January 2, 2008

Today I received my first two 2008 jobs. One is not for publication (so… ssshhh) and the other one is, well, you’ll hear about it soon, because I’ll surely write something about it here.

So there I am, with jobs carried over from 2007, brand new 2008 jobs, and today is only January 2nd, and these pictures from Christmas and the New Year are still with me. But it’s back to work now.

I have given up on New Year resolutions, because they are usually dead by the end of January. Indeed, they are usually killed by the first January job, the rest of the year is just a whirlwind.

In the middle of all this, I now have my copy of Timothy Ferriss’s book (The 4-hour Work Week I mentioned here). I started listening to it (yes, my copy is an audiobook, I like audiobooks a lot), and I am eager to discover more, because I found that I can easily relate to some of his ideas, based on my own life in the past 25 years, in particular to his idea of relative vs. absolute income. A promising ‘read’.

Happy New Year and Back to Work

January 1, 2008


Issue one last bill for 2007.

Finish off a few projects (those that could wait until after…).

Gather in one big envelope those tiny receipts and various stuff that have crept into the oddest places, to finalize 2007 accounts.

Do some serious de-cluttering of my home office (*sigh*).

Write a fairly uninspired post (this).

This is 2008, and the fact hasn’t sunk in yet. But those tasks should keep me busy for a few days, until business life starts for real again.

See you in 2008! Oh but THIS is 2008! Happy New Year, then! 😉

December 31 Resolution

December 31, 2007

Would you believe it?

Instead of making preparations for tonight’s festivities, I’m still:

  • finishing a translation project,
  • paying bills,
  • issuing bills

and more generally attending to unfinished business.


My December 31 Resolution is to make sure each and every 2008 project and administrative task shall be completed by December 30, 2008.

Is this feasible??? Let’s see…

How Many Kisses On New Year’s Eve?

December 30, 2007

It’s one of those cultural nightmares.

If you are celebrating New Year’s Eve in France, or among French people, be aware that geography has some implications in terms of the number of kisses you are allowed to exchange under the mistletoe.

Strange Maps has produced a ‘French Kissing Map’, read its history here.

Claire Ulrich has blogged on it here.

Use the map the rest of the year, too. Don’t assume this is a stupid game. I felt like an idiot the other day, because I left a friend kissing the air. I hadn’t seen her for a long time and I had forgotten. It’s one of those quaint cultural habits that even we French don’t agree on, but we never fight about it.

I wonder, at midnight tomorrow, how many kisses will you exchange with your friends?