It’s no secret that it’s taking France a long time to win my heart, but recently a lot has changed and I feel like it finally has the potential to! I’ve been an expat here for almost 2 and a half years, and I would say that I’ve hated it for about 2 years, 5 months and 1 week of that time. Maybe more. I was recently reading tips on how to survive the first 6 months of expat life over at theexpatmummy.org (a great blog about raising children in Africa!)…her post suggests that you make a home, create a routine, be brave, find things to do, explore and relax. Well, I can honestly say that I did absolutely none of those things when I first moved to France. And it got me thinking about why it’s taking me so long to settle in here.
I would like to justify this a little and point out that 1) moving into your mother in law’s house, 2) not speaking French, 3) having a very small baby, and 4) living in the land before time, all combined make most of these survival tips a little harder to work towards. And now that I’ve seen the light of city life, I can confidently blame our previous circumstances for ALL OF MY PROBLEMS. My life has literally changed since we moved here. It’s undoubtedly better for all of us, but with this being an expat blog – and me being the only expat in the family – I’m only going to write about my personal experience of being an expatriate for now. Toulouse has breathed new air into my lungs and filled me with all sorts of uncharacteristic and brave behaviour.
- Last Thursday I got on the bus knowing that my 10-trip ticket might have run out…AND IT HAD, and I didn’t run away and walk the 10km home (which is totally what I would have done before) – instead, I got a free bus ride!! Thank you kind (and a little bit angry) bus driver.
- The same day, I asked to go along to a yoga class at the studio that I’ll be helping out at next month, and in response was told that the teacher was away so would I, in fact, take the class? A class that I felt totally unprepared for and terrified to teach. And guess what…I SAID YES. And I taught the whole thing in French, and it went fairly well * takes a bow *.
- This must have actually been a pretty good day, because on the same day I took said bus to what I thought was a child-friendly café. It turned out to be a parent-run activity room for the people that lived locally (myself not included), and I went into the room full of French-speakers anyway. This might not sound like a big deal, but for me it was pretty huge.
- I created a Sunday morning outdoor yoga class – which started yesterday and was amazing.
- I’ve started enjoying (some) French songs and stopped calling them ‘François songs’ – not brave but definitely uncharacteristic.
- I’m constantly searching for (and doing!) new and exciting things with Thalia…mainly because there actually are things to do.
You get the idea. I’ve gone from woose to winner in the space of 3 weeks and I am literally feeling on top of the world for it. Maybe living in France isn’t so terrible after all.