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Hi! How are you?!?

Vilay asked me one day why people he worked with would tell him “hi” and say “how are you” as they sped past him not even waiting or wanting an answer.  It was a little over five years ago when we started our life together here in America before moving to France.  I told him it was just the way Americans say hello.  It made no sense to him.  Why not just leave it at “hi” instead of asking how he was doing?  I agree.  It does seem silly and fake.  Most people will ask you how you are doing when in fact they really don’t want to know the truth.  They only want to hear “fine” or “great”.  If you say something else you will throw them off.  I had to explain the rule to Vilay.  He asked me, “What if you are not fine or great?”  I told him, “You are suppose to lie.”


I feel like that is how everyone expects me to deal with my situation even at times on this blog. 

So, what if everything is not fine and everything is not great?  It doesn’t mean that it is horrible and I am depressed.  It may just mean everything isn’t fine or great and I am dealing with it.

All I can do is make the best out of our situation.  That is what I have been doing.  Everything is against Vilay and I.  Everything.  I am not going to down play our situation for anyone.  Yet, I have not and will not give up.  If I do give up.  We have nothing.  Everything depends on me finding a higher paying job.  No. stress. here.  Right!  I am stressed, but I am happy at the same time.  Imagine that.  I am not happy about our plans not working out as we planned them.  But, I am still a happy person.  I am not planning on making a career working in the produce department.  It was just part of our plan.  At first Vilay would work the demanding job while I concentrated on the kids.  We thought he would get his work authorization long ago.  We had no idea that this huge wrench would be throw into our well oiled plans.  Here is our plan in a nutshell:

We made plans for me to work at a little job until Vilay got a job.  My job would give us flexibility due to having one car and the price of putting three children in daycare.  We would work opposite shifts and save enough money to move to Florida.  When we got to Florida I would teach while Vilay worked nights.  After a year of saving money Vilay would drop to part-time and go to school full-time.  Once he finished school, one of our salaries would have went to paying off all the student loans which would take about 2 years.  Then, we would have saved for a house.  It wouldn’t be easy.  Usually, it isn’t when you start out your life.  Would it be possible?  I think so.  I have seen others do it.

This was and is the plan until we decide it is not possible here in America.  Our plan for me to do a small job and stay with the kids has changed due to the sponsor problem.  Now, Vilay will end up doing the small job until we get to Florida…if we do. 

I am turning in my resume to all the banks and every possible company that I can find where I can earn more money.  Once I find a job making more money, we will see if I am able to sponsor Vilay alone.  If not, then we will stay here until we save as much money as we can and go back to France.  No matter what we will make it. 

Each day…each hour…each minute.  We are moving through this life.  We will get beyond this moment in our life. 

When we go through tough times people don’t like to hear about it.  They want to hear that you are o.k.   I think that when you talk about the “really serious stuff” that is getting you down…for good reason…then, people think that you are depressed or weak.  Nope.  Maybe, you are just telling it like it is.

That is what I am doing.  Vilay and I are in the shit here.  We are up to our ears in it.  I am not going to kid you and say everything is o.k.  It wouldn’t be true.  We are going day to day following our path.  We are trying to make the best of a bad situation.  Really…what else can we do? 

You are not going to read about my signing a book deal during all this mess.  I am not going to win the lottery.  

You are going to read about my real life.  You are going to read about how an ordinary woman survived one of the hardest times in her life.  You are going to read a real story that will have an ending and we will be happy even if it is not the kind of “happily-ever-after” ending that many are searching for.  You know what?  That just ain’t real. 

I will survive.  It is not my nature to think otherwise.  No matter what we will get out of the shit. 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alison January 14, 2007, 4:14 am

    That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

    I believe that is true, and I also believe that you can make it.

  • Cathy Y. January 14, 2007, 6:53 am

    I know what you mean about people accusing those who are talking about their problems of being depressed or complaining or whatever. That’s not usually the case, though. Sometimes we’re just thinking things through. Sometimes we’re looking for suggestions, and a place like a blog is a good place to get them! :-) Most people don’t want sympathy. They want empathy. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

    The next time someone says, “Hi, how are you?” and you’re not “fine” or “great,” how about saying, “Oh, I’m making it, how about you?” I’ve heard/said that one before, and it can be the truth. We’re “making it” no matter what our circumstance is, even if it’s a struggle, right? Here in the South, we often turn the question around with “how about you?” which shows you care about how they are doing, too. I take this kind of question as a form of caring and politeness, not as one of “I just want to hear ‘fine’ or ‘great’ so just lie to me.”

  • Jube January 14, 2007, 5:21 pm

    I am a little bit surprised that your husband thought the way Americans say hello makes no sense. The French do exactly the same.
    When someone asks “how are you doing?” or “comment allez vous,” they are not necessarily expecting a true answer. It is just a way to say hello, to establish or maintain a contact with the co-speaker. It is inherent to langage and has nothing to do with being fake. Some linguist (Jakobson) even analyzed this aspect and called it the “phatic function” of discourse. Imagine a conversation (in French, or English) where you meet your future boss at an interview, and the boss asks : “comment allez-vous” and you start talking about your problems for 10 minutes. Maybe honest, but really awkward, isn’t it?
    Same with sentences like “T’as fait couper tes cheveux?” which, in most cases, is not a real question (humorist Jean-marie Bigard made a sketch about that actually).

  • Pumpkin January 14, 2007, 6:37 pm

    Jube, I think it was the fact that people would say this to him as they sped by him so quickly that he couldn’t even say hello back to them. They didn’t even wait for him to answer at all.

    I agree with you about it being a way to speak. I do it myself actually. But. I do wait for an answer from the person before I walk by. I think that is polite. If I don’t have time to wait for someone to respond, I simply say hello. And, I too don’t want to hear if they are having a bad day. The rest of my post was more about my particular situation. I have had people ask me how this problem is going and I can it is only out of politeness. They really don’t want to hear if it is still going badly. However, if I could tell them it was going better they would want to hear about it.

  • Julie January 15, 2007, 12:43 am

    Sometimes I’ve really been tempted to tell people off when they ask how I am. They want you to be fine, but if you aren’t you better not say anything about it cause they hate complainers. One of the reasons I like to read your blog is because you share your true self.

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