Sunday, April 19, 2009

A screaming neighbor

This evening, while I was enjoying the quiet and peaceful scenery outside the window, I heard sharp screaming coming out downstairs. It lasted for a while so we rushed out to see what happened. A women was yelling that "My baby is dead, my husband left, help, help..." I got scared thinking that she might accidentally kill her baby or something. Neighbors rushed out to look after her and several people were calling the police at the same time. Unfortunately, the police refused to show up even though the woman was threatening to kill herself.

Several neighbors stayed to comfort her but she kept yelling "my baby is dead, I want my mother, help, help...". From someone we realized that her baby was dead one month ago and she still couldn't get over it and apparently her boyfriend just broke up with her. From the smell it seemed like she had been drinking.

Since she was still unstable after a while, a neighbor proposed her to call her mother as she kept asking for her mother. Eventually she refused and said:"That wouldn't help, she lives in an apartment, what can she do?" Neighbor suggested she stay with her mother for a while but she kept saying that it was not possible.

I ponder for a while about this, the fact that most French adult do not live with their parents even though they are poor or having problems. It seems that once being adult, the relationship of parents-children changed.

I have a coworker who recently bought a piece of land and is planning to build the house by herself. The construction is going to take about 4 years so to save cost, she plans to stay with her parents. To my surprise, she was referring to stay in a caravan in her parents' garden. Yeah, so even though she is alone, she couldn't really move inside the parents house, but just outside in the garden. She explained that both her and her parents would like to have some privacy, but it really astonished me that once adult, children and parents couldn't live under the same roof anymore. The opposite is the same, my French family couldn't understand how my parents live with their child and grandchildren.

We really come from a different world.


  1. It really is fascinating, isn't it, how each culture has evolved its own way of living and coping with life's challenges. And how you, now, are becoming proficient in straddling two (if not 4) incredibly diverse cultural modes through your native culture(s), your schooling environment, and your married life and work environments.

    I understand that cultures have habits and preferences, however, I do not understand how they can persist in them in the face of such obvious situations, like your poor neighbor's, when so much emotional and physical suffering could be mitigated by temporary, compassionate changes. That always makes me feel so sad.

    I think that it is really great that your family lives with several generations under the same roof. That must be very supportive for everyone.

  2. I feel so sad and sorry for your neighbour. She obviously need psychological counseling and family support.

    I would want my children to feel that they can come home and stay with me if they ever need to and not feel that they are invading my privacy. Of course if they are just loafing around and doing nothing with their lives, then they get a kick out. :p