6 Choses tout à fait normales pour un français… (Dessine-moi un expat, Courrier International Blogs)

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Original cartoon via Dessine-moi un expat here.


6 Things Expats in France Miss about the U.S.

Okay, after however many years living in France you can honestly say you feel comfortable in this country. You’re so happy to have the opportunity to live here Buuuut, sometimes you just miss the ol’ US of A. Even with the political lunacy, flagrant capitalism, and disastrous price of healthcare, sometimes you daydream about what things would be like if you hadn’t quit home. (Probably a nightmare, but you still think about it from time to time.)

We know our expat tears are kind of bullshit. “Si les States te manquent, tu n’as qu’à retourner là-bas,” says a little condescending interior voice. (It’s a French man with a scarf and a moustache and a cigarette glued to his mouth, probably, this little guy in your head.) But it’s not really what you want, moving back. It’s just that sometimes you want to make a PB&J that doesn’t cost $11 in peanut butter.

Anyway, these are the kinds of things you start to miss about home, in between the moments of French bliss.

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Iss been a minute

Feeling like it’s time to resurrect La Virginienne. I’ve been “busy” (read: maybe a bit down in the dumps and watching far too many things on Netflix) and kind of forgot my perfect weekend morning ritual of fixing a big, American-sized mug of coffee, lighting a white linen candle and blabbering to the large void of the internet about my passions for language, culture, food…

In the two years that have passed since the time when I was writing regularly for my blog I’ve been doing some things (besides forgetting how to read due to my addictions to television and getting in bed before sundown). I’ve moved from Paris, spent a month living in Kuwait visiting my parents, crashed at my brother’s place in Richmond while squaring away a new visa and then moved to a new city in France – Nantes – to do a Master’s program.

It’s been a whirlwind and maybe not an entirely fun process, as evidenced by the anxiety weight I’ve gained thanks to never really planting my roots anywhere for fear of a visa snafu. That being said, I’ve got some material for this ol’ website. I’ve made a resolution — not at all connected to New Year’s, I don’t kid myself with New Year’s resolutions — to read more, to write more, to do more. That includes getting back to this personal project and sharing my experiences on:

  • the university system in France
  • the perennial debate of Paris vs. ‘province‘ (and why that term is ridiculous)
  • apartment hunting and settling in to a new city as a foreign student
  • general mid-twenties angst and why finding friends as an adult sucks, even more so when you had the genius idea of emigrating from home

You get the idea. Plenty more rambling in franglais coming your way, if you’re willing to read it.

Les jeunes américains quittent le pays en nombre. Une expatriée témoigne.

Étudier pendant un semestre à l’étranger, voyager à Cancun pendant les vacances de printemps, faire du bénévolat l’été entre des années à la fac. Jusque là, la tendance parmi les jeunes américains était de voyager pour des courtes durées, dans le cadre d’une expérience éducationnelle ou pour des simples détentes. Mais il y a de plus en plus de jeunes actifs et d’étudiants qui s’en fuient des États-Unis pour une durée indéterminée.

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How to Move to France (and Stay There)

Every language assistant, study abroad student, and (if you’re me in 2012) silly tourist on a four-day trip to Paris has a moment where they ask, “How can I stay here forever?” It’s a common thing, because life in France just seems so romantic…especially at the outset.

Seriously wanting to stay is a difficult impulse to satisfy, though; trying to find an answer is frustrating and can turn depressing pretty fast. You come across a bunch of blogs full of peoples’ pictures of their morning croissants, charming little French neighborhoods, and jaunts to Barcelona and Milan. These bloggers (myself included, up until this point at least) don’t even have the decency to explain how the hell they got to that “perfect” place!

Well, people tend to not explain their immigration stories because they’re not always 100% sure how they did it; it feels like luck (or was the result of marriage, which I’m not knocking, but you can’t just go get married). More typically, people don’t write it down because they haven’t actually figured out a forever plan for themselves.

It’s hard, for sure, but it’s not impossible! You have to really want it and be willing to make a series of (sometimes very lateral) moves before you find your long-term solution. With some realistic planning and stringing together a bunch of different experiences, you can find a way. Read on for real advice on how to become that expat person…ups and downs, uncertainties, and croissant Instagrams included.

(Featured image by Ryan Maple on flickr.)

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