Monday, 11 November 2013

Ex-pat




Maybe if I had moved here in my 20’s instead of my 40’s I would have been fluent in French and have integrated in local live. This isn’t the first time I’ve immigrated to a different country. I moved to Scotland from my native Holland when I was in my early 20’s. Being young, single and scared of nothing I picked up the local habits and customs easily; after a few years I felt more British than Dutch. Is it the fact that I’m older, married and less courageous now that I’m not integrating that easily or is it that French culture is just less accessible than Anglo-Saxon culture? 

Even here in France where they put in a lot of effort to retain their language and culture, for instance by limiting the amount of non-French language songs that can be played on the radio, you see more and more that Anglo-Saxon culture is taking over. The latest series from the USA are as eagerly watched here as elsewhere in Europe. More and more English is sneaking into the language, often its use is bemusing. For instance a Macdonald Big Mac meal deal is described as Best of big Mac. (Which bits are they leaving out? Is it just the pickle and the burger?)

In the book Cameron is making fun of English George as he hasn’t fully adapted to French life and he is certainly not an unusual example of an expat in the south of France and although I have put in a lot of effort in, I am resigning myself to the fact that I’m more like George than I’d like to admit. I have caught myself moaning about the quality of tea. The same brand of English tea just taste different here. Even with the right tea bags it is a rubbish cuppa as the water is so hard. I have to decalcify my kettle every two weeks. Yes I’m doing very badly at being French, considering how riled up I get about the quality of a cup of tea.