Liberal Catnip is a blog about Canadian politics. She has a post in response to a post from someone else about someone else’s post – too complicated to explain but you can read it – and she’s compiling a list of the top 10 Canadian female bloggers and asks her readers for recommendations.
Jim, thanks for suggesting me.
Paddy, I suggested you.
The idea of Canadian top 10 female anything has me thinking about being an ‘ex-pat’
Being a Canadian woman in France
Living in France isn’t my first ‘ex-pat’ experience. I lived in South Africa for 7 years – from age 7 to 14, lived in Zambia for two years in my early 30s and then in Barbados for a year. I’ve been in France for 6 years.
The obvious difference in France is the language. Even after 6 years I struggle with it but I manage.
What have I learned?
- The things I find frustrating about life in France have nothing to do
with gender and almost everything to do with cultural expectations.
- Surprisingly – for me and I suspect for people who know me well – I’ve learned to be more patient. I’m never going to be the poster girl for patience but at this late stage of my life I’ve finally learned that I can’t make everything happen when I want it to happen.
- Patience is certainly a key to dealing with bureaucracy anywhere in France but in the Aude we need to be patient about almost everything. It’s a much slower approach to life. I’ve heard French people from the north of France rail against the slow pace here.
- I am Canadian. And Canadians are not Americans or Brits. There are surprising cultural differences.
- I miss Canada. I didn’t move here to get away from anything. I moved here because I had a life-long dream – to live in France. I miss my family and friends, the emotional support that had built up over years.
- Some of the things I find frustrating in France are the same things I found frustrating in Canada. Things I would find frustrating anywhere. We bring our baggage with us. We live with what we carry. Moving to another country really teaches you to identify your ‘shit’ – if you let it.
Am I happy?
Surprisingly, yes. Surprisingly because the past two years have been very difficult. My own little personal hell.
Would I do it again, just pick up and move to France?
Yes, in a heartbeat.
Will I stay here or will I move back to Canada?
I don’t know.
What about you?
Are you an expat in France? What’s your experience?