Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm French on a French expat forum :p, I was an expat in China for 6 years and I'm just back home, in my dear (but damn boring) Le Havre.
I miss the expat community, the warmth of the people I met along the way in China. I miss the feeling of -almost- instant complicity with fellow expats. I love my country and my people, but it's tough to be back to a normal life after the most intense 6 years of my life. And I do feel like I'm in a new place here. Old friends moved away, or changed a lot (or is it me?) and I find myself rather lonely here. I do have a couple of awesome friends but they're busy with their own lives.

Have you ever gone back home and had that feeling?

Do you live in Le Havre and want to meet up? Do you have an idea of where I could meet expats?

Cheers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
202 Posts
I'm French on a French expat forum :p, I was an expat in China for 6 years and I'm just back home, in my dear (but damn boring) Le Havre.
I miss the expat community, the warmth of the people I met along the way in China. I miss the feeling of -almost- instant complicity with fellow expats. I love my country and my people, but it's tough to be back to a normal life after the most intense 6 years of my life. And I do feel like I'm in a new place here. Old friends moved away, or changed a lot (or is it me?) and I find myself rather lonely here. I do have a couple of awesome friends but they're busy with their own lives.

Have you ever gone back home and had that feeling?
Most definitely! When I was younger, I worked or did research in various foreign countries. It was always hard to re-integrate in my home country when I got back, and I never quite fit back in. One solution was to hang out with expats from other countries who were living in the US.
For a period of years I spoke more Spanish than English while living in Chicago.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
51,630 Posts
It has often been said that once you are an expat, you have no real "home." I returned back to the US after barely a year abroad my first time, and decided to head back to Europe on my own.

Things change in just a year, so you never return to quite the same country you left. You've also had your horizons expand and you've become used to different customs and habits, so you're not the same as when you left.

The best remedy is to get involved in some newcomer or expat groups to help keep the "awareness" alive of what it is like to be a foreigner in France. (It isn't easy.) The AVF is usually good - a nice mix of French and foreigners new to the area - or any of a number of group that call themselves "international."
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
51,630 Posts
Thanks, what's the AVF?
I can see we share the same feelings. Well they say home is where your heart is.
avflehavre - Le Havre - AVF

AVF is a newcomers' group in many French towns. The groups vary considerably, but all are based on the notion of welcoming newcomers to the area. Because they are a volunteer group, a couple of former expats active in the local association can go a long way toward making the group more "welcoming" to foreigners in town.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
Trans-nationals

My father was in the British army, so while I was born in England, the first six years of my life were spent in Cyprus, Egypt and North Africa. Then when I was in my late 20s I came to France for a wonderful 6 years, then moved to the USA for 25 years. I spent most of my life feeling I was English, but then realized more and more that I could never LIVE in England again. In fact I've lived only a third of my life in England, and that third was a long time ago. I now live - happily - in France. I think if you've bopped around the world enough you become a sort of trans-national. (Especially if you're a child of ex-pat parents, as I was.)

On the other hand, there are some fabulous films being shot in Le Havre at the moment - 38 Témoins, Le Havre, and so on. Très tendance!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
I can somewhat identify.

I was born in France. Lived there for first 11 years then moved and lived in the US for almost 20 years.

I am back in France and France is not home for me.

I am in the region of Auvergne now (though I will move in the future).

I am miserable in here.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,806 Posts
I can somewhat identify.

I was born in France. Lived there for first 11 years then moved and lived in the US for almost 20 years.

I am back in France and France is not home for me.

I am in the region of Auvergne now (though I will move in the future).

I am miserable in here.
Why are you miserable here in the Auvergne? and where in the Auvergne?

I love it here, almost as much as I love being in Corsica - both very different, and somehow similar, lifestyles. What's the problem?

H
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
51,630 Posts
I can somewhat identify.

I was born in France. Lived there for first 11 years then moved and lived in the US for almost 20 years.

I am back in France and France is not home for me.

I am in the region of Auvergne now (though I will move in the future).

I am miserable in here.
There is the old saw that "you can't go home again." If you return to your homeland expecting it to be as it was when you left, you're bound to be disappointed.

I returned to the US after not quite a year away and was definitely not happy there. Living abroad changes things, and changes you. I wound up moving back to Europe - and ultimately found myself living in France.

There are days the country drives me nuts - but I know full well I could never live back in the US. I suspect you're experiencing the other side of that. Treat France as another new, uncharted landscape and be prepared to adapt to a new culture.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Why are you miserable here in the Auvergne? and where in the Auvergne?

I love it here, almost as much as I love being in Corsica - both very different, and somehow similar, lifestyles. What's the problem?

H

I am miserable because I left all of my friends in the US. I am in France with no friends. I haven't made an effort but that's bc i am not planning to invest too much in france.

Living in the US for 20 years and I am too American to be French. The economics of France and the US couldn't be more diametrically opposite for developed countries. I could go on and on but that's the jist of it. Also France doesn't have the NBA. I am a huge basketball fan (as a spectator and player).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
There is the old saw that "you can't go home again." If you return to your homeland expecting it to be as it was when you left, you're bound to be disappointed.

I returned to the US after not quite a year away and was definitely not happy there. Living abroad changes things, and changes you. I wound up moving back to Europe - and ultimately found myself living in France.

There are days the country drives me nuts - but I know full well I could never live back in the US. I suspect you're experiencing the other side of that. Treat France as another new, uncharted landscape and be prepared to adapt to a new culture.
Cheers,
Bev
I guess it would depend on the individual person. To me France was home when I came back in 2010, it was not home anymore.

The US is home to me. I lived 20 years there and 18 months in here so far won't change the way I see things. yes I think when i go back, the us will feel different but I had plans and goals to accomplish there so I am planning to go back. It's still a shock being in France. :ranger:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
I am definitely of the expat for life variety! I lived in London for 2 years and recently moved back to the US (this past August.) I grew up in Oklahoma and now live in Texas. I actually really liked my life in London but found myself having these romantic ideas of how easy life would be back in the US. My husband was offered a job in the US and off we went. I have never regretted anything more in my life! I was seeing the US through my memories and wasn't really considering that I was no longer the same girl. It was a very hard lesson to learn and I feel that my husband and I have paid a very high price for it (not just monetarily.)

I left many friends behind in London and have not found many to replace them here (Texas.) I definitely don't feel like I belong and can't wait to leave! Three weeks from today I'm getting out of here! :clap2: The few people we relate to here are expats. People here don't get me or my discontent. Actually, this past week we went to a cocktail reception affiliated with the French community here and I felt like I had more in common with the people there than anyone else I've met since we've been back. I think the tie that binds is that multidimensional perspective. I find that a lot of locals have little interest or tolerance of my disdain for being "home." Other expats (no matter their country of origin) share this ability to see one's home country more objectively and don't take offense to my observations.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
51,630 Posts
Yes, it's only when you attempt to go "back home" that you find out how much you've changed. But "back home" has changed, too, don't forget. And "back home" you're no longer "exotic" like you are when you live overseas.

As an expat (or former expat, even) you're always going to find that your closest friends are other expats - even if they are from countries other than your home country. There is something about being the "outsider" that never leaves you.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,806 Posts
Yes, it's only when you attempt to go "back home" that you find out how much you've changed. But "back home" has changed, too, don't forget. And "back home" you're no longer "exotic" like you are when you live overseas.

As an expat (or former expat, even) you're always going to find that your closest friends are other expats - even if they are from countries other than your home country. There is something about being the "outsider" that never leaves you.
Cheers,
Bev
Yes, there is a commonality in being an expat - from wherever - which means you can never fit in again "back home"; either others are jealous or you no longer have much in common with them 'cos you've seen/lived/experienced a different life - and all that goes with that, for better or for worse.

H
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Yes, it's only when you attempt to go "back home" that you find out how much you've changed. But "back home" has changed, too, don't forget. And "back home" you're no longer "exotic" like you are when you live overseas.

As an expat (or former expat, even) you're always going to find that your closest friends are other expats - even if they are from countries other than your home country. There is something about being the "outsider" that never leaves you.
Cheers,
Bev
That is so true! Since my posting I have mused even more on this topic. At the french party, I spoke with a guy who has moved to a different country basically every 4 years. I asked him how he felt about the US and he gave me a very thought provoking answer. He said, "Whatever my impression of the US, it is by definition inaccurate. My opinion is based on personal experience unique to my circumstances and relating only to the city in which I have been living. Had I lived in another city or had a different job there my opinion would be completely different."

I definitely think there is a lot of validity to that view point. For instance, had my husband and I moved back to New York, I think the culture shock and mismatched expectations would have been considerably lower. In a similar vain, if I hadn't landed a great job in London and thus met my coworkers (many of whom became good friends) my opinion of London (and the whole of the UK) might not be as sunny.

As a child I developed a fascination for France, but it is the actual experiences my husband and I have had while visiting (and for my husband, working) in France the past 5 years (especially the friends we've made and the welcome we've received) that make it seem so superior to everywhere else in our minds. It's because our lives seem to go in a positive direction there. It really is very subjective and personal when it comes down to it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
"I asked him how he felt about the US and he gave me a very thought provoking answer. He said, "Whatever my impression of the US, it is by definition inaccurate. My opinion is based on personal experience unique to my circumstances and relating only to the city in which I have been living. Had I lived in another city or had a different job there my opinion would be completely different."

I came up with the same conclusion of my stay in France in so far. One cannot generalize from one's own subjective experience in a specific part of a country and say it will be the same for all people and cities.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top