(3) My Life: First Half NYC, Second Half Paris

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Jan 4, 2017 23:29
Previously on this translation work: A young Taiwanese man had gone to work in NYC, thinking it the world's best city. However, a series of events changed his mind, and then he noticed Paris. Disclaimer: The author's comparison involves oversimplifications like, "(All) Americans/French do this or that," with which I don't agree. Feel free to edit, even if you don't understand Chinese. Thanks!

France was always the laughingstock of New Yorkers.

Whenever most Americans, who were proud of their nation as a Superpower, brought up France, they couldn’t help but snicker.
身为经济、科技和军事强国的美国,谈起法国总是忍不住调侃(ridicule)一番(for a while)。

France became became a fallen noble.
法国是没落(a has-been)的贵族(aristocrat)。

In France, those great people worthy of worship had been dead for centuries.
值得崇拜的人都已作古(dead for a long time)。

Arrogance and heavy taxes made the French slouch.

Most people, even including winery owners, staged strikes at the drop of a hat.
动不动(at the drop of a hat)就罢工,连酒庄主人都要走上街头(take to the streets)。


When I moved back to Taiwan, Provence and Tuscany suddenly came into fashion.

While reading “Bella Tuscany” by Frances Mayes, one passage in particular resonated with me: “At home in California, time often feels like a hula-hoop, a ceaseless whirl on a body fixed but in a rocking place; I could kiss the ground here (in France)…in the luxuriant freedom of a long day to walk out for a basket of plums under the great wheel of the Mediterranean sun.”


Spot on!

What had I been chasing?

I’d spent my entire youth in the frantic pursuit of of material possessions; in the end, however, had I really gained more wealth and fame than others?
我耗(consume)尽(all of it)青春,用尽全力(full strength),拼命追求身外之物(things you can't take along when you are dead),结果我真的比别人有钱、有名吗?

The bottom line: was I really happy?

When I restudied France, I discovered that the French lifestyle and the American lifestyle represented two ends of a spectrum.
当我重新研究法国,我发现法国和美国代表两种截然不同(completely different)的生活方式。

Americans emphasized enterprising spirit, keeping their chins up in spite of any adversity; French people stressed harmonious coexistence, following the course that suited them best.
美国人追求人定胜天(take on Heaven itself),凡事要逆流而上(idiom: swim/row up against the flow of the water);法国人讲究和平共存,凡事顺势而为(do things by following the course, perhaps it's easier or efficient)。

New York was full of modern skyscrapers, while the history of many mansions in Paris could be traced back 300 years.
纽约有很多摩天大楼,巴黎的许多房子都是300年前的古迹(ancient architecture)。

New York bred innovation, Paris was permeated with a nostalgic aura.

At coffee shops, New Yorkers tapped nonstop on their laptops, whearas Parisians were engaged in small talk.

Crowded New York, scented Paris.

The former was never short of cash, the latter lavished patisserie.

Be it the government or citizens, French people’s focus was confined to pursuing the quality of life.
不论是政府或个人,法国人都把精神投注(mainly cast on)在食、衣、住、行等“身内之物”(opposite to 身外之物)。

Let Uncle Sam be the Superpower, as long as he was satisfied.

Exploring the Space, waging Iraq War, raising banking rates, and coming up with inventions – none of these interested French people.
要征服太空、要打伊拉克、要调高利率、要发明新科技,都随他去(let it be with him, i don't care)。

They preferred to rest on the other side of the Atlantic, smoking, drinking, watching soccer, and designing fashion.

Americans found themselves had developed gastric ulcer from busy work, at which point French people just relished another can of foie gras.
See above.