The high temperature today is supposed to be 18ºC, which is about 64ºF. What a change from last week! I feel like I'm back in San Francisco. It's been raining, too, and quite a bit.
Another reason I feel like I'm in San Francisco is that we have friends visiting from there, and we're sitting around talking about life back there vs. life here in France. J. & C. are doing a house exchange with some people who live just outside Paris. They've been watching French television a little.
J. wanted to know if there is any Arabic language programming in France, aimed at the large immigrant populations from North Africa and the Middle East. No, there isn't — at least not that we are aware of. That's not part of the French mindset, or government policy. If you live in France, you are expected to "integrate" into French society. You are supposed to speak French. You are supposed to eat French. You are supposed to participate in the mainstream culture.
One of the questions asked about Walt and me when we applied for French resident's cards was whether or not we spoke French. The fact that we do made a big difference. The authorities also asked the mayor of the village we live in whether we were involved in the community. She told them we were, so we got the residency cards.
It's a little maddening to us that British and other European immigrants, for example, don't get asked any such questions. They don't need residency cards. They often live on a different track, remaining fairly separate from the French society around them. Many British immigrants here in France don't speak very much French at all. The situation highlights the contradictions between long-standing French policies and new European realities.
Okay, off to do some sightseeing today...