People keep asking me how long I've been in Paris. My usual reaction is a weary sigh mixed with a Gallic shrug as I tell them that I have been in this glorious city for nearly four years now. When I sent off that UCAS form all those many moons ago I would never have thought that I would still be living in this gorgeous place and making myself a life here. Sure I anticipated staying here for my entire degree but I didn't predict the magnetism that would keep me from straying away from the romantic cobbled streets and freshly baked bread. In recent times people have taken my love for la belle France as beings dismissal if not a hatred for my native land. In the era of Brexit Britain I decided it was about time that someone dispelled some Expat myths and set the record straight for once.
1. We all hate our native countries. This is so not true! By being a foreigner in a different country you grow to cherish the little quirks about your blessed place of birth. Most people can tell that you aren't a Parisian just from looking at you so your average expat embraces their Britishness because that's what makes you special. In a French office Yorkshire Tea is thought of as exotic and not a human right and you learn to live with that. It's one of the things I love most about living abroad because the expat communities are some of the most tolerant places in the world purely because they are made up of people who have had to adapt to different surroundings whilst retaining their own personality. Sure I love living in France but I also love my heritage and I never want to give that up.
2. We all speak multiple languages. If like me your an expat living in Paris then you probably know enough French to deal with everyday life. You can buy baguettes, order a coffee and do basic chit chat but that doesn't mean your completely fluent. I've met so many people who live here only having notions of French but they get by because they have the confidence to try even if they're not 100% sure. I came here to study the French language but many people don't and I would never judge someone for not being fluent because even after 4 years I still find myself saying "Ta" to the cashier in Monoprix every now and again!
3. We are all rolling in cash. Yes we live in these exotic places and get to see incredible landmarks everyday but that doesn't mean that we aren't working overtime every week to pay rent! We chose to live this life sure but we value our quality of life over our bank balances. Personally, I love Paris for the apéro culture and their work to live rather than live to work mentality as it helps me to find the balance that is best for my personal benefit.
I hope this short little piece dispels a few preconceptions that the general public has about us Brits Abroad and if you have any questions surrounding it then send me a message or comment on Facebook!