French Life

Confessions of an Expat

Well, I survived!

I survived my first year in France! (Or to be more precise my first year and three months)

It hasn’t been without it’s challenges, but you’re always going to face challenges in life no matter what part of the map you decide to build your castle on. All be it, the challenges are a tad more difficult when in a different language, but what’s life without a little adventure!?

Before moving here, I had goals I wanted to achieve and preconceptions of how I was going to live my life in a different country surrounded by a new culture. I had a twelve month plan of where I expected to be after my first year.

Here’s how that worked out for me…

  1. Fantasy – I will no longer resemble a porcelain doll, I shall be a golden brown goddess! Reality – I am a lobster.
  2. Fantasy – I will dress feminine and classy resembling a chic mademoiselle. Reality – My favourite jeans have a hole in the backside pocket but I refuse to stop wearing them and I abandoned makeup and a hairbrush months ago. (luckily I still maintain basic hygiene and shower every day).
  3. Fantasy – I will have a different job. Something cool and Frenchy, like serving coffee and croissants in a stylish bistro with accordion music playing in the background. Reality – I  do exactly the same job that I did in the UK.
  4. Fantasy – My phone address book will be bursting will all my new French Pal’s numbers. Reality – I hang out with all the Brits.
  5. Fantasy – I will fully embrace the provincial art of shabby chic. Reality – I accomplished the shabby part.
  6. Fantasy – Stanley will have a posh poochy girlfriend, they’ll play together and have spaghetti and meatballs moments. Reality – Stanley thinks he has a girlfriend at the newsagents, but he mistakes her grumbling and back hairs standing up as signs of affection.
  7. Fantasy – I will be more adventurous with food, I will eat French cuisine and learn to appreciate a more sophisticated palette. Reality – I tell everyone I meet they MUST try the burger and chips at my local.
  8. Fantasy – I will be speaking fluent french. Reality – Errrrr…..Non.

As you can see I didn’t quite achieve my goals and seem to have got my idea of North France and South France lifestyles a little muddled up. But I can safely say that I have fully immersed myself in life here and have become an active member of a friendly community. You would think that moving from a major city in the UK to a quiet little corner of France, I’d have much less in my life now. Wrong. I have so much more! More dreams, for now I dare to dream. More courage, now I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone. More opportunities, every day is different now I’m off the hamster wheel. More of a social life, I interact and socialise so much more than I ever did in England. More self confidence? That one is still a work in progress, but it’s coming slowly… more zest for life? Definitely a big tick in that box.


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