Tuesday, August 12, 2008

From bullfights to His Holiness the Dalai Lama...

Living in France has always been full of mind-opening experiences for me. Trying to get used to a new culture and way of life has been one of the most, shall we say, interesting aspects of being an American in France. As soon as I start to feel as if I'm getting a handle on the way France works, something happens that sends me into a new whirlwind of confusion.

I live amongst people who one day participate in the pageantry and tradition of Spanish bullfighting, and the next day, pay homage to Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Okay, so it may not be the same people, but the fact that these two events are both happening within 40 minutes of where I live doesn't half confuse the vision I have of the typical French person.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Paris yesterday to start a 12-day conference in France, where he will be visiting various towns in France for temple blessings and religious teaching. One of his last stops will be at the Lerab-Ling Temple near Lodeve, which is a 40-minute drive from my house.

The event is of course surrounded in a bit of controversy, as President Sarkozy has decided not to meet up with His Holiness, in light of his attendance at the Olympics and the ongoing struggles between China and Tibet. However, the first lady will be attending the temple blessing in Lodeve.

What a busy year Mrs Sarkozy has had already....

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