Now, let me talk about the struggles (at least those I’ve encountered) of living in a foreign land. I am married to a French guy and been living in France for less than a year now. “Oh, France! Lucky! How’s Paris?” That’s usually what other people tell me. The thing is, I live in the suburb a few hours away from Paris. And most people don’t speak and understand English. Not being able to speak the language means awkward pauses in conversation, me trying to find the French word, them trying to think of the English word. During family get together, more often than not, I will be the topic of conversation. Not in a bad way, though. I will just smile and look at my husband for translation. I also can’t go out without my husband. Because, first, he deals with everything French, also, I need him to drive since even public vehicles are scarce in our area. That make my husband the only person I can talk to every single day. I don’t have friends I can hang out with here. There’s no Filipino community near me. Even foreigners that speak English are rare. There are more, of course, in the big cities.
French culture is different from Filipino culture, too. I will not dwell on the culture differences because I have to learn more about the subject. But, so far, it is not that hard for me to adapt to the French culture. Most of the time, French even sympathize with my lack of knowledge of their language. As long as you are nice, they are even willing to go an extra mile to help you.
Simple table setting for an intimate dinner. 🍽
French people love to eat. They really took the time and effort to prepare something special when inviting someone over. From appetizer, main course to dessert. They got it all covered. Only, they don’t serve Asian rice, adobo, kaldereta, crispy pata and so on. It took me a while to get used to the food. Because even in supermarkets, it is hard to find ingredients for cooking needs. Restaurants may be all over the place, but going to one will make a huge dent in your wallet. Even fast food chains are expensive from what I am used to. Come to think of it, everything is expensive. From house rent to water, the difference is evident. I’ve learned to look for the price per kilo and compare everything. I think twice when buying items and ends up getting the cheapest one from the lot. Not always but most of the time. In the long run, you will be able to deal with it.
First time to see snow!
Another thing that is a big feat for me is the weather. For someone like me who’s not so fond of the cold, living in France is a challenge, as it’s cold here for 9 months. You must have a few coats, boots, bonnets, gloves and scarves ready. Going out for an errand is dreadful (at least, for me). 😄 Slowly, though, I am adapting to the weather.
Me, before braving the cold weather outside. Brrrrr!
And last, but definitely not the least, is the homesickness. It will always be the hardest to cope with. The feeling of missing your family and friends from across the world is enough to make you want to break down and cry. Missing the special occasions and seeing all their happy faces on Facebook will make you yearn to book the next flight and go home. Fortunately for us, they are now one video call away, easing the heavy feeling of sadness. 🙂